As annoying as they are in summer, lurking around our lemonades and sweets, bees are essential to humankind. They are one of the main pollinators for crops, sustaining our lives by ensuring agricultors can deliver on time. Still, IPBES says 37% of bee species have seen their population diminish at an alarming rate, making robotic bees a necessary part of our survival #todaymagic
Harvard researchers think a short term fix for people’s food supply are robobees, artificial insects that can pollinate crops. One insect is “half the size of a paper clip, weighs less than one-tenth of a gram, and flies using “artificial muscles” comprised of materials that contract when a voltage is applied.” The body of the bees consists of a compact and seamlessly integrated power source, while the brain is packed with sensors that mimic the eyes and antennae of real insects, so they can respond to the environment.
In order to pollinate crops, they are enabled with an electrode patch and foam mount that allows them to stick on any surface. Besides pollinating, robobees could be also used to monitor traffic or help in search and rescue missions.