Photo: Valengilda (Getty)
Since we are screwing Mother Nature up every single day it seems, we now need man-made things to help get earth back on its feet. The latest invention? Robo-bees.
A team at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan made the bee-like drones by using a combination of horsehair, drones and a sticky ion gel. That’s pretty much it. And now they have a bunch of robot bees that are able to pollinate.
— Mike Quindazzi (@MikeQuindazzi) February 23, 2018
It’s pretty simple really – first, the drones fly into flowers much like a bee would. Inside the flower, pollen gets stuck to the drone due to the combination of the ion gel and horsehair. That same pollen is then shaken off into the next flower, and so on.
Popular Mechanics reports that Eijio Miyako, a chemist at AIST actually created the sticky ion gel by accident in 2007. The gel, which Miyako considered a failure, sat unused for a decade. When Miyako picked it up again recently he was pleased to find that it was still sticky and figured it would be perfect for his new project. Miyako is now the project leader behind the “Robo-bees”.
In case you haven’t heard, bees are dying at a rapid pace, and we need them to live. Badly. But we only have ourselves to blame for their deaths. A 2014 study from Harvard’s School of Public Health found that pesticides were the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), “which is the phenomenon in which worker bees just suddenly up and leave a colony without warning.”
Bees are decreasing everywhere, so something clearly has to be done. But there’s a problem: in a Black Mirror episode titled, “Hated in the Nation,” similar bee-drones are hacked and start killing people. So yeah, that’s probably going to happen.