The Biotracking Project is moving to Georgia Tech. Please go there for the latest information.

300 members of a colony of Aphaenogaster cockerelli
search for food in our experimental arena.

Automated Tracking and Modeling of Social Insect Behavior

At the CMU Multirobot Lab we are investigating algorithms for automatically tracking and modeling the behavior of multiagent systems. We have selected social insects as research subjects because they can be observed in a laboratory environment and they provide a rich source of data for testing our algorithms.

Our goals are

  • new multiagent science: our observing technologies will provide a wealth of data for testing and developing multiagent observation algorithms. We envision a multiagent system (multiple cameras and computers) observing multiagent systems (insects, people).

  • new biological science: we can use the technologies developed in our lab to substantially advance the state of knowledge of social insect behavior.
To accomplish these goals we are conducting long-term observation of captive ant colonies in our lab, and in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.


Tracking the movement of hundreds of ants simulataneously.

A comparison of spatial activity in an arena with and without the presence of food.



Related Work


Maintained by Tucker Balch and Zia Khan.