Research News

We are part of the new international Bio-robotics project BaBots

Our research group leader Monika Scholz (Neural Information Flow lab) is part of the new large-scale international research project “BABots”, funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC). Coordinated by the University of Namur, the seven European partners of this ambitious project will be working on a new approach to bio-robotics based on “Biological Animal roBots” (BaBots).

BABots are small animals, such as worms or insects, whose nervous systems will be reprogrammed to execute new and useful behaviors. BABots are intended to ultimately perform delicate tasks within miniature complex biological environments, such as in the soil or on plants. Experts in neurobiology, synthetic biology, robotics and ethics, and a company specialized in vertical farming team up to design BABots and to analyse their individual and collective behavior.

The project’s aim is to develop the BABots technology, and to demonstrate its usefulness and safety within a rigorous ethical and regulatory framework. The first BABots system will be implemented in C. elegans, a 1 mm long nematode worm widely used in research as model organism. A group of nematodes will be programmed to coordinate their actions, detect, and eliminate pathogens like crop pest. This scenario will be studied exclusively in a Petri dish. However, the project also aims to test the effectiveness of the BABots technology in a natural environment such as the confined environment of a dedicated vertical farming setting.

Ultimately, the project could lead to multiple and promising solutions in the field of agriculture, bio-industry or even industry and medicine.

To the project's website

For further information please contact:

Dr. Monika Scholz
Max Planck Group Leader