“Bionic Bee” robots pollenizing orchards?

Pruning my Arkansans Black apple tree for the Bionic Bees.

According to China Dialogue, “In recent years, farmers have been forced to hand-pollinate their trees, carrying pots of pollen and paintbrushes with which to individually pollinate every flower, and using their children to climb up to the highest blossoms. This is clearly just possible for this high-value crop, but there are not enough humans in the world to pollinate all of our crops by hand.”

So along come Bionic bees! Wired Online has a story, “Engineers plan to upload bee brains to flying robots.” In the article we read that, “Engineers from the universities of Sheffield and Sussex are planning on scanning the brains of bees and uploading them into autonomous flying robots that will then fly and act like the real thing.” What will they do with these “Bionic Bees”? Engineers say they could “be used for a range of situations where tiny thinking flying machines should be more useful than current technology, which might mean seeking out gas or chemical leaks, or people who are trapped in small spaces. They might even help pollinate plants in places where natural bee populations have fallen due to the still-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.”

Bionic Bees pollinating food crops? Yes, and coming sooner than you think  to an orchard near you.


About Trey Pitsenberger

Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.

03. October 2012 by Trey Pitsenberger
Categories: | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Perhaps it was just the photo they choose in the Wired article but this sounds like the making of a Scifi B-movie to me. Make robot bees. Something goes horribly wrong. Little Billy is last seen running from swarm of angry bees. You get the picture.

    • Kat,
      Sci fi today, reality tomorrow. The possibilities are endless.

      “Billy could hear the “bees” before he could see them. At least he thought they we’re bees. The sound these tiny flying insects made was strangely unfamiliar, almost alien. They didn’t buzz like the bees Billy was familiar with, but rather the sound was like a million tiny metal scissors, opening and closing with ferocious speed. By the time Billy realized what he was hearing wasn’t made by “real” bees, it was too late…

  2. Very cool. Now they should work on robot ladybugs that are programmed to actually stay in your yard and eat aphids all day.