The quarter-sized RoboBee looks like a fly, but it was designed to save us from colony collapse disorder. If the bees die, we have a robot backup.
We take for granted the effortless flight of insects, thinking nothing of swatting a pesky fly and crushing its wings. But this insect is a model of complexity. After 12 years of work, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have succeeded in creating a fly-like robot. And in early May, they announced that their tiny RoboBee (yes, it’s called a RoboBee even though it’s based on the mechanics of a fly) took flight. In the future, that could mean big things for everything from disaster relief to colony collapse disorder.
The RoboBee isn’t the only miniature flying robot in existence, but the 80-milligram, quarter-sized robot is certainly one of the smallest. “The motivations are really thinking about this as a platform to drive a host of really challenging open questions and drive new technology and engineering,” says Harvard professor Robert Wood, the engineering team lead for the project.
When Wood and his colleagues first set out to create a robotic fly, there were no off the shelf parts for them to use. “There were no motors small enough, no sensors that could fit on board. The microcontrollers, the microprocessors–everything had to be developed fresh,” says Wood. As a result, the RoboBee project has led to numerous innovations, including vision sensors for the bot, high power density piezoelectric actuators (ceramic strips that expand and contract when exposed to an electrical field), and a new kind of rapid manufacturing that involves layering laser-cut materials that fold like a pop-up book. The actuators assist with the bot’s wing-flapping, while the vision sensors monitor the world in relation to the RoboBee.
“Manufacturing took us quite awhile. Then it was control, how do you design the thing so we can fly it around, and the next one is going to be power, how we develop and integrate power sources,” says Wood. In a paper recently published by Science, the researchers describe the RoboBee’s power quandary: it can fly for just 20 seconds–and that’s while it’s tethered to a power source. “Batteries don’t exist at the size that we would want,” explains Wood. The researchers explain further in the report: ” If we implement on-board power with current technologies, we estimate no more than a few minutes of untethered, powered flight. Long duration power autonomy awaits advances in small, high-energy-density power sources.”
The Latest Bing News on:
- Magnetic Beeson January 20, 2021 at 6:11 pm
Each honeybee hive produces about 29 kg of honey per year. To help them make this honey, the bees talk to each other - and just recently, some scientists have learnt ...
- ‘WandaVision’ Weekly: Recapping the first 2 episodes by interviewing ourselveson January 18, 2021 at 12:44 pm
We've got all the information you need to know about the first two episodes of Disney+'s 'WandaVision' right here.
- WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 1 and 2 - Reviewon January 15, 2021 at 10:39 am
This review contains spoilers for Marvel's WandaVision episodes 1 and 2. For a spoiler-free look at the show, please take a look at our WandaVision preview. Was a scene featuring Vision singing a ...
- Who is Dottie on ‘WandaVision’? All About Emma Caulfield Ford’s Scene-Stealing Roleon January 15, 2021 at 7:53 am
Moreover, why is Dottie important to the plot of Marvel’s WandaVision? Here’s everything you need to know about Dottie on WandaVision. .. Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans rejoice! WandaVision ‘s Dottie ...
- ‘WandaVision’ Premiere Recap: A Sitcom Sheen Covering a Big Secreton January 15, 2021 at 1:24 am
The MCU’s expansion into television is fittingly a tribute to the medium itself. But what’s really going on underneath the ‘I Love Lucy’ surface?
- The Casual Marvel Fan’s Guide to WandaVisionon January 15, 2021 at 12:01 am
Ugh, we hope not—we thought we were done with the MacGuffins from the first 22 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which were destroyed in the movies’ present-day timeline. But suddenly ...
- Futuristic Street Sweeper Makes Litter Cleanup Look Funon January 14, 2021 at 9:26 am
Resembling a robotic anteater with two opposable snouts scoping the ground, it's a far cry from the clunky units that remove debris from our streets.
- Bees respond to wildfire aftermath by producing more female offspringon January 14, 2021 at 6:13 am
Researchers have found that the blue orchard bee, an important native pollinator, produces female offspring at higher rates in the aftermath of wildfire in forests. Researchers at Oregon State ...
- CES 2021 Highlights: 79 Gadgets and Glimpses Into the Futureon January 13, 2021 at 9:42 am
The consumer tech show is virtual this year, and the WIRED Gear crew is watching all the Zooms to bring you up-to-the-minute highlights of news from CES.
- Box-Picking Robots Now Automating Warehouseson January 13, 2021 at 7:38 am
These box-moving robots are supposed to work like automated swarms of worker bees in order to efficiently carry boxes around warehouses.
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
Colony collapse disorder
- These Manuka Honey Donuts Help Save The Bees & That’s On Preventing Colony Collapse, Honeyon January 21, 2021 at 12:13 am
Imagine being able to scoff donuts and save the bees at the same time. Well now you can, and no, this isn’t some cryptic Bee Movie reference. The Inner Sydney sweet treat artisans at Donut Papi have ...
- Find a Publicationon January 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm
During 2016-2017, 33.2% of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. were lost due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Commonly used pesticides are among the suspected reasons for bee mortality.
- USDA buzzing with new plan to fight collapse of bee colonieson January 13, 2021 at 3:21 am
A draft farm bill scheduled for House Agriculture Committee approval next week includes new funding to study colony collapse disorder. Separately, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced ...
- Honeybee collapse claims record number of hives this yearon December 31, 2020 at 6:55 am
"We need a unified effort by all." The escalating campaign against what's generically called colony collapse disorder includes more state, federal and private funding for research. Publicity ...
- New Israeli-US Efforts for Beeson November 26, 2020 at 11:14 am
on an agent developed by an Israeli-US company to help beekeepers fight a virus strongly associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to www.israel21c.org . CCD is characterized by ...
- Outdoor Resort Developer “Beelieves” It Can Help Mitigate Colony Crisison November 25, 2020 at 4:00 pm
“The planet has been witnessing a serious increase in Colony Collapse Disorder over the last few years, which is why we’re acting with some urgency,” said Mr. Spina, who proposed the project ...
- Background on Colony Collapse Disorderon August 17, 2020 at 7:20 am
Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which otherwise healthy hives apparently suffer a precipitate and fatal loss of adult bees, leading to the death of the hive, first surfaced approximately a ...
- Neonicotinoids & Honey Beeson June 12, 2020 at 10:12 am
That is a significant reason why, in recent years, honey bee health has gotten increasing attention. Colony collapse disorder captured great attention when it was first noted in 2006 but EPA itself ...
- how bee colony workson June 20, 2019 at 7:48 am
A new bee semen bank may help breed colony-collapse-disorder-resistant bees. They're all in this together With help from light that humans can't see A new method of culturing microbes might be the ...
- Shau Heng Lion April 23, 2019 at 11:48 am
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) happens when worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind their queen and food. Studies have shown the causes of CCD… We’re an online magazine dedicated to ...