A Cricket Robot; December 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Webb; 6 Page(s)
When we describe a behavior as robotic, it is usually to call attention to its predictability. Whether the subject is a bored supermarket cashier or an acquaintance not known for spontaneity, robotic behavior might be characterized as a series of seemingly automatic reactions in response to interactions or events.
Insect behavior, too, might be considered to be robotic or automatic. Detailed research into the specific actions of some insects, however, has revealed a great deal more variety than this characterization suggests. The female cricket attempting to locate a mate from the male¿s calling song is a good example. In some respects, this activity seems very simple: when she hears the appropriate song, the insect may continue to walk toward it for hours, even if placed on a treadmill.