Animal and robot Societies Self-organise and Integrate by Social Interaction (bees and fish)



Project website



In February 2013 the largest project of the recent EU call „FOCAS“ (Fundamentals of Collective Adaptive Systems) has started.

The main goal of ASSISIbf is to establish a robotic society that is able to develop communication channels to animal societies (honeybees & fish swarms) on its own.

These robots will adapt by evolutionary algorithms until they have learned to interact with animals in a desired way. This new technology is aimed to lay new foundations on the way how humans can interfere with animal societies in order to manage the environment. The researchers expect their work to have impact on agriculture, live stock management and environmental protection. In parallel, the mixed societies of animals and robots will represent a novel kind of bio-hybrid ICT system, as the animals will enrich the capabilities of the machines and vice versa.

The research is conducted by six European institutions from Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Portugal and Switzerland. The project is coordinated by Dr. Thomas Schmickl.


1. Develop robots that can influence the collective behaviours of animals (bees and fish).
2. Establishing an adaptive and self-organising society build by robots and animals.
3. Enable the robots to autonomously „learn“ the social language of the animals.
4. Establish mixed societies that pursue a common goal which can be defined by human ,users‘ of the system.
5. Allow the robots to gain novel skills by incorporating the capabilities of the animals (sensors, cognition).


FOCAS Proactive Initiative



Ö1 - Roboter unter Bienen - Von der Schwarmintelligenz zum sozialen Cyborg.

ASSISIbf featured on FETFX - Robotic spies among bees – Scientists Building Robotic Bee Spies & Fish – A robotic spy among bees – Robo-Bees Can Infiltrate and Influence Insect Societies To Stop Them From Going Extinct – Robotic spies among bees – Robotic spies among bees

ABC Radio - Robotic agriculture and swarming with bees on Future Tense

Kleine Zeitung “Cyborgs” sind Thema bei der Montagsakademie

Montagsakademie Soziale Cyborgs: Maschinen und Lebewesen verschmelzen zu Super-Gesellschaften

YouTube TEDxGraz: The bot swarm: how robots and societies merge to form a whole

KiKA Erde an Zukunft: Eine Zukunft für die Bienen

FoCAS Newsletter Issue Two - Winter 2014

The Verge Infiltrating nature with crocodile robots and condor puppets

Antena 2 Ciência radio feature 8 minutes

Antena 2 Ciência radio feature 22 minutes

DN CIẾNCIA Portugueses em projeto para perceber linguagem animal

ServusTV TM Wissen: ROBOTERSCHWARM: Kollektives Bewusstsein in Maschinen

NAUTILUS Animals Bow to Their Mechanical Overlords: Robots are infiltrating insect, fish, and bird communities—and seizing control.

Unizeit Schwärmerei

ZDF Elektrischer Reporter - Phase III - 086: Künstliche Tiere, ein Wahlkampfanzug und gedrosselte Netze

The Scientist Magazine Send in the Bots

Article in online newspaper of the University of Graz

Robots learn how to interact with animals

Kleine Zeitung Roboter, die mit Bienen schwärmen

der Standard Schwarmintelligenz auf Roboter übertragen

Wirtschaftsblatt Roboter lernen die Sprache der Tiere

OÖ Nachrichten Wie kommunizieren Bienen und Fische? Roboter sollen Sprache der Tiere lernen







Project Leader: Thomas Schmickl
Project Management: Gerald Radspieler
Team: Ronald Thenius, Martina Szopek, Martin Stefanec, Payam Zahadat, Sarah Schönwetter-Fuchs, Stefan Schönwetter-Fuchs-Schistek, Thomas Schmickl, Ziad Salem, Asya Ilgün, Nikolaus Sabathiel, Valerin Stokanic
Duration: 01.02.2013 to 31.07.2018
Budget: 6 Mio. Euro
Granted By: EU - 601074









Student Work: