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This paper presents the European project LEURRE which deals with the cooperation between robots and animals in a social context. Its main objective is to demonstrate the possible control of such mixed societies. The control of interactions between artificial systems and living organisms is a key challenge in many scientific fields like medicine, agriculture, and ethology. All biological levels are concerned: the cellular level regarding, for example, interfaces between artificial systems and cells like neurons; the organism level regarding intelligent prosthesis; and the human level as it relates to cooperation between humans and robots. For research dealing with animal societies, it is convenient to use animals that allow detailed analysis and modeling. For this reason, gregarious insects are a good choice. The artificial agent in the mixed society is an autonomous mobile robot. The recent results achieved in this field allows the design of a miniature robot with sufficient performance to interact with insects. It is called InsBot for "insect-like robot". To achieve the goals, American cockroaches and miniature robots were used to form the experimental mixed society.
Date of Publication: June 2005