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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Many of you know that I am a little obsessed with robots, cyborgs, and the idea that we will one day be taken over or assimilated by sentient machines. I do not consider most robots as friendlies as I have seen the Matrix and Terminator. However, even with my prejudice, I can see how robots might help the world. Here is an interesting example.
Photo Credit

I have written on this blog several times about Colony Collapse Disorder. Bee colonies are mysteriously dying off. Bees pollinate our plants and without them we are in trouble. The Harvard Microrobotics might have something to help alleviate the loss of bees.

According to their website, the collaborators "envision that the Nature-inspired research could lead to a greater understanding of how to artificially mimic the collective behavior and intelligence of a bee colony; foster novel methods for designing and building an electronic surrogate nervous system able to deftly sense and adapt to changing environments; and advance work on the construction of small-scale flying mechanical devices." They think that they will be able to make small robots that can autonomously pollinate a field of crops.

I hope that it never comes to this and that our bees are pollinating when my great grandchildren plant their gardens. It is interesting to think that we might be able to make machines that pollinate and I wish the Harvard Microrobotics luck. It will be hard to replicate something as beautiful as a bee colony.

One suggestion, don't give them stingers. I don't want to be stung by a Robobee.


1 comment:

The Rambler said...

Dear Michael,
I don't find the bee colony collapse "mysterious" at all and I think many would agree that mostly Big Ag is to blame, like Bayer and Monsanto with pesticide coated seeds and roundup ready GMOs being almost the only option for big time farmers these days. Although I'm glad this pollination technology is being created, I also hope it never comes to this. Without bees it will be the of all small time farms and backyard gardners, and the security of all our food production will be at the mercy of big ag decisions made in the lab and in the conference rooms instead out on the dirt.