This just in from the Boston Business Journal: Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Science got a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to run a five-year project to build RoboBees. Yep, fake bees to pollinate… Why?
In case the problem of pesticides killing bees can’t be solved before it’s too late, they say. One of the researchers working on the project, Sawyer Fuller, says RoboBees are modeled after flies because they have two wings (bees have four). The RoboBees weigh the same as honeybees and flap their wings at 120 beats per second, compared to 200 beats per second for bees. In addition to being able to pollinate, RoboBees might monitor traffic, find survivors in hard-to-navigate places by pairing the bee with a temperature sensor, and might be able to search for gas leaks. Pretty amazing, but high tech comes with a price, doesn’t it? And I love my honeybees…I bet you love yours too.