Sci-tech

Bees In Peril: Scientists Using Drones To Pollinate Flowers As Alternative

Bees In Peril: Scientists Using Drones To Pollinate Flowers As Alternative

The horse hair is coated in a type of ionic liquid sticky gel, accidentally discovered and then forgotten about for almost a decade by the study's lead author Eijiro Miyako.

The drones, measuring just 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) across, have a small patch of horse hair stuck to the underside of them to mimic the fuzzy body of a bee, which helps pick up pollen when they are visiting flowers for their nectar. Expanding the scope of the project from one tiny drone pollinating a large flower to a giant fleet of robotic pollinators would be challenging.

Video A failed science experiment involving a sticky gel has been revived to create robot pollinators.

Far from replacing bees, the researchers hope that the drones could help carry the burden that modern agriculture has placed on bees, and in turn benefit farmers. "We were surprised that after 8 years, the ionic gel didn't degrade and was still so viscous".

While the idea of tiny drones pollinating crops is exciting, the real innovation lies in the sticky gel that covers the drone.

'Conventional gels are mainly made of water and can't be used for a long time, so we chose to use this material for research'.

However, they were not able to paint the gel on the plastic part of the little drone they were using in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the ants with the gel gathered much more pollen than those that enjoyed an unencumbered trip through the tulips. Now, a decade later, he may have found another use for it.


While President Donald Trump's administration delays the first-ever listing of a bee species in the continental U.S.as endangered, researchers are trying to find out if a drone could spread pollen instead, according to the MIT Technology Review.

But a stroke of luck has led researchers to a depressing backup plan if we let our pesticides kill off all the bees.

Bees and other insects are essential pollinators for many plants, including nearly all commercial food crops.

Pollution and climate change have drastically affected the population of pollinating insects like bees, flies etc. Pollinators play an important role in plant kingdom and their reduced count is a reason of concern. The best way to manage pollination at the moment is to breed crops that self-pollinate and to take better care of bees to ensure they survive into the future.

He and his colleagues believe that robotic pollinators ultimately could learn pollination paths via GPS systems and artificial intelligence. Hopefully, the little robots can "help counter the problems caused by declining honeybee populations", Miyako said.

The work of a drone isn't close enough to the vital works of the bees or in some area in China, who uses their hands to pollinate a flower by brushing.


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