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

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