Harvard has been working on a robotic bee for more than seven years, and it can do some astonishing things.
The researchers recently announced that the RoboBee can dive and swim without any changes to its existing hardware.
But that’s not all the tiny robot the size of a penny can do — the bee’s size and hovering capabilities means it can also pollinate flowers.
This is important because honeybees, which pollinate nearly one-third of the food we eat, have been dying at unprecedented rates because of a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The crisis is attributed to a mix of diseases, parasites, and pesticides, and it’s serious enough that the White House created a task force last year to address the issue. The RoboBee could be a potential solution to the problem.
Check out the amazing capabilities of the RoboBee and what it can mean for our future.
The RoboBee's ability to lift off the ground and hover midair is a major breakthrough in micro-aerial vehicles. The robot is the size of a penny and still contains enough hardware for flight.
Right now, the RoboBee must be tethered to a power source in order to fly. But work is being done so it can fly on its own. Once it can fly solo, researchers say the RoboBee could serve as handy tool for stealth military surveillance.
The RoboBee's ability to hover midair could make them good pollinators. But for the bees to act like a real hive, they must learn to communicate with each other first. Although CCD originally inspired researchers to start work on a RoboBee, they are meant as a temporary solution to the problem until a natural one is found.
Researchers told Business Insider last year that with continued government funding and research, the RoboBee could be functional in 10 to 15 years. They are adjusting the RoboBee so it can carry more weight. This way, the RoboBee could carry a rechargeable battery instead of being hooked to a power source.
It was revealed just last week that the RoboBees can also dive and swim underwater. The RoboBee is so light,though, that it must crash dive into the water in order to break the surface. The RoboBee is much, much slower in the water though. It can flap its wings at 120 Hz in the air but only 9 Hz in the water.
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