For more than a decade, researchers at Harvard University have been working on the development of small, flying robots. These micro-robots were inspired by the body of a fly, with thin bodies and small wings. In 2007, the first tiny robot took flight. This achievement was "a major breakthrough" for micro scale robotics, according to UC Berkeley robotics researcher Ron Fearing.
In 2009, the Bee Bot was created. It was designed in the hopes of creating a robotic bee colony. The Bee Bot's wing span is only 3 centimeters, which is the smallest robot to ever take flight. After many modifications and technological advances, the Bee Bot was ready to perform it's duties in 2013.
"We don't just copy nature. We try to understand the what, how, and why behind an organism's anatomy, movement, and behavior, and then translate that into engineering terms." -Robert Wood
The Bee Bot is an innovative technology that has revolutionized agriculture for the betterment of society: providing ways to produce crops in an accelerated manner.
The Bee Bot was ultimately designed for autonomous pollination of crops, which would aid in prolonging the life of the plants and eventually allowing for more crop production. These tiny robots may even be able to perform search-and-rescue expeditions, scout hazardous environments and gather scientific field data (Daugherty, 2014).
According to Jonathan Foley, the director of the Institute on the Environment, the population is projected to grow by two billion come 2050, thereby requiring an increase of food supply by 25 percent. With help from robots like the bee bot, this can be possible. The bee population is dwindling due to pesticides from crops, so the bee bot is a great alternative to using bees to cross pollinate our foods.
Daugherty, S. (n.d.). Engineer Sees Big Possibilities in Micro-robots, Including Programmable Bees. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140825-micro-robots-robert-wood-emerging-explorer-science-engineering-technology/
Be the Bee: Beebot Could Aid in Agricultural Growth. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://roboglobal.com/be-the-bee-beebot-could-aid-in-agricultural-growth