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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Sep 20 11:03 PM

Sept 21st, 2017: Robo-Bee

Each time you say to yourself nothing surprises me anymore, you're sadly mistaken. Well, add to that list of "what the (fill in the blank)?" robotic bees. Why robotic bees, you ask? Well, apparently, in order to fill in the gaps between our own dwindling bee populations and the need for pollination to continue on schedule, should we wish to continue eating and enjoy flowering vegetation. You see, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly three-fourths of the world's flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world's food crops depend on pollination in some sort by some animal or insect. Bees play a huge role in this.

So, before your imaginations run off with you too far, you can stop envisioning a little steampunk bee with revolving brass gears. The robotic bees the Japanese have in mind are actually tiny drones they want to send off on the winds to supplement our current bee populations, which as mentioned earlier are dwindling to the extent that just last month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service actually listed a species of bee as being endangered for the very first time. Now, never let it be said that the Japanese are not immensely creative, tireless inventors and grossly imaginative. Leave it to them to solve problems in countless innovative ways, and this latest idea of mini drones covered in horsehair and sticky gel just might turn out to be one of them.

When asked, Miyako admitted there are limitations with the technology insofar as piloting the drones at this point, but he feels that both GPS and artificial intelligence could eventually be incorporated to automatically guide the little robo bees to their intended targets. Before the drones can be put into use, two things will have to happen: First, the price will have to be reduced and, second, the battery life of only three minutes will have to be significantly boosted. While it's great that we are finding ways to deal with the serious problems that face us, which are often times man-made, it would be even greater if they didn't become a problem in the first place.
Sounds to me like a workable Robo-Bee is a long way off, and practical Robo-Bees are decades after elspode's flying car.


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