Robotic Bees Could Save Crops

In September, I posted a Weekly Newswrap with a story about robo-bees.  Now comes this story about robot bees that could help save agriculture from the coming disaster caused by the mysterious bee plague.  This is the disease that has wiped out over one-third of the bee population in the United States.  Some estimates of bee deaths are much higher.  If a cure cannot be found for this Colony Collapse Disorder, perhaps these mechanical bees can help save crops that require pollination.  These robotic bees would be developed from a robotic fly developed by Rob Wood at Harvard University.  Read more about these “beebots” in this article by Corey Binns from the Popular Science website.


Illustration Credit:  Graham Murdoch

That strategy led Gu-Yeon Wei to suggest that Rob Wood morph an almond-size robotic fly he had developed into a fleet of autonomous bees, each capable of carrying out specialized tasks. Perhaps, they speculated, the “RoboBees” could supplement the pollinating duties of bees stricken by a mysterious affliction that’s killed 36 percent of America’s 2.4 million hives. If you build the bee body, Wei told Wood, I can make the brain.

In the future, an autonomous robot could haul the hive from field to field. STEP 2: Survey the Landscape Scout RoboBees leave the hive first and use their ultraviolet sensors to locate the same UV patterns on flower petals that real bees look for.

Robotic Insects Could Pollinate Flowers and Find Disaster Victims – Popular Science
(author unknown)
Thu, 17 Dec 2009 15:09:00 GMT

Weekly Newswrap

Here’s this week’s newswrap from RobotNext.  While there is no theme to tie this report together, the robots from the posts of the last seven days are interesting and varied.  From Friday, the Japanese are at it again.  They have released a robot to help the elderly exercise.  Lately, there seems to be a new health care robot coming out of that island nation every day.  Then, there is the clothes folding robot from Thursday’s story.  Actually, this laundry bot has been mentioned in several blogs and I just happened to pick this one.  Wednesday had yet another robot that mimics nature.  Now, it is robot bees.  Built to demonstrate communal behavior, these robo-bees join the robo-ants, robo-flies, and other robo-insects crossing the line from nature to mechanical.  Tuesday’s robot is the machine every couch potato craves.  The kegerator is a beer-pouring robot.  Maybe this would be perfect for the sports fanatic who doesn’t want to miss a moment of the game.  Finally, in RoboBath, NASA has developed a way to clean and sterilize a robot of bacteria and other living organisms, so that future robotic landers going to planets or moons won’t contaminate the surface with Earth lifeforms.  Check out the stories at the links below.  Let me know what you think.  Leave a comment.

Video: Sporty robot Taizou wants the elderly to exercise

Another week, another healthcare robot coming put of Japan (and this is generally a good thing). This new model, named Taizou [JP], is …
CrunchGear –

Video: Sporty robot Taizou wants the elderly to exercise
Serkan Toto
Friday, 11 Sep 2009 11:02:22 GMT

FOLD-E! Clothes-folding robot demonstrated at SIGGRAPH

Who wouldn't want one? Scatter your undies on the ground (if they're not there already), give FOLD-E the go-ahead, and scant minutes later, …
CrunchGear –

FOLD-E! Clothes-folding robot demoed at SIGGRAPH
Devin Coldewey
Thursday, 10 Sep 2009 11:43:24 GMT

Robot bees mimic communal feeding – The Engineer

Robot bees mimic communal feeding
The Engineer
A Northeastern University neurobiologist is to bring his expertise in animal robotics to a five-year, $10m (£6.1m) National Science Foundation (NSF)

Robot bees mimic communal feeding – The Engineer
Wed, 09 Sep 2009 18:01:53 GMT

The kegerator evolves into a beer robot

But we were scooped on a beer robot. The Asahi robot was part of a promotion for the Japanese brewer in 2006. The R2-D2-shaped bot would pour a tall cold
See all stories on this topic

The kegerator evolves into a beer robot
Pitch Weekly
Tue, 08 Sep 2009 19:45:51 GMT

RoboBath: NASA Studies The Cleanest Robot in the World – Popular Mechanics

RoboBath: NASA Studies The Cleanest Robot in the World
Popular Mechanics
Two other robots are tethered to the machine to let it access terrain as steep as 85 degrees. + Bot Specs: The rover is the size of a toy wagon,

RoboBath: NASA Studies The Cleanest Robot in the World – Popular Mechanics
Mon, 07 Sep 2009 13:57:37 GMT