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Robotics Earth

Swarms Of Flying Robot Bees Could Monitor Weather, Collect Data (venturebeat.com) 60

An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: Native honeybees, one of the most prolific pollinators in the animal kingdom, are dying off at an unprecedented rate from Colony Collapse Disorder and threatening an ecosystem service worth about $15 billion. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the RoboBees project looks to minimize the loss of this critical resource with new microbots that can mimic the pollinating role of a honeybee... In a remarkable display of biomimicry, scientists have developed a flight-capable robot that's just half the size of a paperclip and weighs in at one tenth of a gram... The RoboBees project pushes the boundaries of research in a variety of fields, from micromanufacturing to energy storage and even the computer algorithms that control the robots by the swarm...

While the effect of a single robot might be miniscule, a coordinated group of hundreds, thousands, or millions of RoboBees could perform a host of unprecedented tasks. Aside from pollinating plants for agricultural purposes, the RoboBees could coordinate to digitally map terrain, monitor weather conditions, and even assist in relief efforts after a disaster, through data collection. While RoboBees are only intended as a stopgap measure for honeybee loss, the potential applications of the technology have the world holding its breath for the next breakthrough.

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Swarms Of Flying Robot Bees Could Monitor Weather, Collect Data

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  • Proof of concept.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:40PM (#55170193)

    .. with no supporting facts. Important things like how long can you "fly" a device that weighs 100 mg? How do you control the device with even a 3 mph wind?

        The article is so significantly short of fact it reads like a new kickstarter project (without the CG video).

    • .. with no supporting facts. Important things like how long can you "fly" a device that weighs 100 mg? How do you control the device with even a 3 mph wind?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/rise-insect-drones#page-2

    • Kickstarter projects have a hope of delivering as promised.

      • This sounds more like:
          * Yes, we can definitely fix your problem
          * Ahem, what *is* your problem?
          * Ecosystem on brink of catostrophic failure
          * Yes, we can definitely fix your problem. We'll be redefining the estimated total difficulty (and budget) at sporadic intervals but oh man can we fix your problem

    • "you" don't control them. You just tell them where to go, and they use their own on-board control systems to get there. "Swarm flight" tech has been around for several years now for multiple drones. For power, you would follow the bio-mimicry idea and make the "hive" the recharge center, and probably also a repeater for the control systems. You been instructions to the "hive", it broadcasts to the individual "bees". Most of the "intelligence" would reside in the "hive".
      • "you" don't control them. You just tell them where to go, and they ...

        ... repeatedly fly into the window until they run out of power and come to rest next to the dead flies on the window-sill.

        At which point Manny will cook and eat them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:42PM (#55170205)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    hmm, I think I recall a Black Mirror episode about this sort of thing..

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @01:52PM (#55170245)

    do we really want little drones from dozens of different corporations swarming all around us with unknown purpose? let's outlaw them now, baiting and destroying them takes time and money

    • I agree, and as I said elsewhere, we should not be wasting time 'replacing' bees with little robots, we need to determine HOW bee colonies are dying, and PUT A STOP TO IT!
      • Good luck with that. We already know how the bees are dying and the people responsible have enough money that it won't stop any time soon.
        • Well then goodie I guess I'll start a betting pool as to which thing is going to be the extinction-level event that kills the human race and maybe everything else on this planet: climate change, breaking the food chain irrepairably, religious zealots/extremism, or jackasses tossing nuclear weapons around.
      • already known, fungal infections and pesticides (which also weaken the bees it doesn't kill so they are more prone to fungal infections)

        • Well then someone needs to tell the jackasses at Monsanto and Bayer and whoever else that there's no profit in KILLING THE ENTIRE PLANET.
  • by lurker412 ( 706164 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @02:10PM (#55170327)
    What could possible go wrong?
  • What will Robot PETA say? And will Bender make them his flying monkeys? The horror, the horror....
  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @02:51PM (#55170479)
    I can't possibly foresee any drawbacks of plan based upon "Swarms Of Flying Robot Bees."
    • Yes, absolutely no scary visions here, besides some bug that will make them do there work on people. Also the fact that way cheaper way is to simple take care of bees hits this hard
  • "hated in the nation"
  • It's chock full of friendly robot bees that monitor everything. Of course if you want to get the info you have to go looking for their floating honeycombs and maybe fight a few elder gods.

  • This is a fine example of the garbage ideas flooding our lives. Go stick an ice cream cone to your forehead and pollinate the crops of the world yourself. It makes more sense.

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:10AM (#55174565) Journal
    This is stupid. Instead of replacing bees with shitty little robots, we need to stop doing things that are killing bees! Doesn't everyone understand that bee colonies dying off is a symptom of something bigger?
    • This is stupid. Instead of replacing bees with shitty little robots, we need to stop doing things that are killing bees! Doesn't everyone understand that bee colonies dying off is a symptom of something bigger?

      If that's the case, then yes we do. Unfortunately we don't really know what is causing it. Or if it's even something that people are doing for that matter.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson

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