Robobee Officially Takes Flight: Robotic Pollinators to Replace Dying Bees

Activist Post This is an update to the original post on April 17.  No, this is not a tabloid – it’s real. According to the latest video, which has now been posted below, robotic insects have made their first controlled flight. According to the creators of Robobee:

The demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot is the culmination of more than a decade’s work . . . Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, the robot was inspired by the biology of a fly, with submillimeter-scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that flap almost invisibly, 120 times per second.

In addition to the recent suggestion from insecticide producers that we should “plant more flowers”to aid the declining bee population, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has been working with staff from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Northeastern University‘s Department of Biology to develop robotic bees. These insectoid automatons would be capable of a multitude of tasks. Autonomous pollination, search and rescue, hazardous exploration, military surveillance, climate mapping, and traffic monitoring – to name a few. Harvard claims their “Micro Air Vehicles Project” was inspired by the biology of a bee and the insect’s hive behaviors. While the researchers focused on the development of individual autonomous robots, they also plan to study coordinating large numbers of the robots to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently. The robots are created through an incredible micro-engineering process specifically designed for mass production. Each “Bee” is designed with its own electronic nervous system and power source, and able to target tasks with a microscopic Ultra Violet targeting sensor. These micro-engineering advances are increasingly similar to the military’s development of miniature drones. Shared knowledge and research in these technologies is resulting in a massive increase of processing power and flight time, as well as the potential for fully autonomous drone swarms. full story 

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