Robot Bees Being Developed by Harvard

Researchers at the Harvard Microbiotic Lab may be on the brink of developing working, robotic bees, an invention that could limit the agricultural fallout of Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon currently hammering honeybee populations across the country.
Colony Collapse Disorder, first identified as a serious problem in 2006, has been devastating honeybee populations across the country. CCD is marked by the sudden and mysterious decline in honeybee populations, with entire colonies sometimes vanishing. If the trend continues, some biologists believe the bee population in the United States may vanish entirely.
The collapse of the honeybee population presents a bleak picture for many farmers who rely on bees to pollinate major crops. The loss of the bee population could significantly increase costs for many farmers and could threaten agricultural production across the country.
Harvard’s announcement may offer a way to avoid this fate. According to researchers, Harvard’s Microbiotic Lab may be on the verge of creating robotic bees capable of pollinating plants. The lab has described the bee prototypes as “18 layers of carbon fiber, Kapton (a plastic film), titanium, brass, ceramic, and adhesive sheets have been laminated together in a complex, laser-cut design. The structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product — just 2.4 millimeters tall — to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book. By mass, one U.S. quarter = 63 Harvard Monolithic Bees.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer