Tiny Flying Robots are Being Built to Pollenate Plants

Published 08/08 2014 07:49PM

Updated 08/08 2014 07:51PM

Item: If you’ve wondered how the robo-revolution were to start, this might be its origin point: Researchers are working on “RoboBees” that will be deployed by the thousands, fly on their own, communicate with each other and coordinate actions without a single distinct leader—all under the guidance of pollenating everything they can. While this may be an elegant solution to an alarming problem, with more than $15 billion in agricultural industry at stake due to the drastically dropping numbers of bees, how do we really feel about trusting our edible futures to what sounds like the plot line of a Michael Crichton book?

Why it Matters: The fear of colony collapse among bees is one that isn’t going away—or isn’t becoming any less scary. If we lose bees a majority of our ecosystem will crash, but if we can find a way to replicate what the bees do then other options begin to open up. There is currently a push for technology that is based in nature, and as smart tech gets smaller and more intricate, we’re finding ourselves able to mimic more of what nature has to offer.

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