Saturday, November 19, 2016

Robot Bees to Pollinate Crops?

A frightening response to what may turn out to be human-created decline of nature... humans applying technology to solve problems... GREAT! BUT, what follows? That they tell themselves they don't have to worry about being destructive any longer because their technology will solve it all? (reminds me of the mess we create with antibiotics)... is this a slippery slope to accelerated self destruction. 

"Tiny Flying Robots Are Being Built To Pollinate Crops Instead Of Real Bees

Honeybees, which pollinate nearly  one-third of the food we eat , have been dying at unprecedented rates because of a mysterious phenomenon known as  colony collapse disorder  (CCD). The situation is so dire that in late June the White House gave a  new task force  just 180 days to devise a coping strategy to protect bees and other pollinators. The crisis is generally attributed to a mixture of disease, parasites, and pesticides.  
Other scientists are pursuing a different tack: replacing bees. While there's no perfect solution,  modern technology offers hope.

Last year, Harvard University researchers led by engineering professor Robert Wood introduced the first RoboBees, bee-size robots with the ability to lift off the ground and hover midair when tethered to a power supply. The details were published in the journal Science. A coauthor of that report, Harvard graduate student and mechanical engineer Kevin Ma, tells Business Insider that the team is "on the eve of the next big development." Says Ma: "The robot can now carry more weight The project represents a breakthrough in the field of micro-aerial vehicles. It had previously been impossible to pack all the things needed to make a robot fly onto such a small structure and keep it lightweight.

Superthin robot wings flap 120 times a second. Harvard University

A Bee-Placement?
The researchers believe that as soon as 10 years from now these RoboBees could artificially pollinate a field of crops, a critical development if the commercial pollination industry cannot recover from severe yearly losses over the past decade.."

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