I for one have never been stung by a bee, but reliable sources tell me that it is not a pleasant experience. But I’m fairly sure that nobody has ever been stung by a robot, unless of course the robot was specifically designed for stinging people. With these two taken into account, it can be inferred that if robot bees were to take over America’s pollination duties, the incidents of pollinator-inflicted stings would sharply decrease. And this is part of a plan in its very early stages being developed by Harvard scientists. Bee populations worldwide have been diminishing due to a phenomena known as colony collapse disorder. Researchers are unsure of the cause, but we are losing our pollinators fast and there seems to be no immediate solution. But never fear, for science may very well have a robot for that.
Scientists at Harvard University have been developing tiny winged robots called drones which, with a good bit more development and then maybe a good bit more development after that, may be able to take over the task of pollinating America’s crops. They are incredibly small and light weight, and unlike other man-made drones, they use tiny insect-like wings to stay aloft. They are far too small for motors or gears, so the wings utilize a phenomena known as the piezoelectric effect to beat incredibly fast. An electric current is sent through piezoelectric material which vibrates and beats the wings. The robots can successfully fly, but they have to be connected to a power source with a thin wire because nobody has invented a battery light enough yet. The other major roadblock is the fact that they do not yet have computers or sensors with which to detect and pollinate flowers. I think that this is another interesting example of the human race attempting to fix the damaged environment with technology. Who knows, maybe it will actually work this time.