Harvard scientists have developed a robotic bee that will hopefully attempt to alleviate the worldwide shortage of honeybees. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been widely reported on, yet it has not been established exactly why bee numbers have been falling so dramatically in the last number of years. The falling numbers is a very serious issue since we rely on honeybees for almost one third of the food we consume, and they account for more than $15 billion in value to U.S. agricultural crops each year.
Engineering professor Robert Wood led the team that developed the RoboBee, in the hope that they would be able to artificially pollinate a field of crops in the eventuality that the commercial pollination industry is not able to replenish the dwindling number of bees.
After over a decade’s work in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science’s lab, RoboBee took it’s maiden flight in May last year. The robotic bee weighs in at less than a tenth of a gram and is only half the size of a paperclip.
While Robobee is currently a prototype, as soon as 10 years from now these tiny bee-sized robots could be pollinating fields near you.
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