Are you aware that a third of human food production depends on bee pollination? Recently, infomercial, a science fiction was produced to create awareness on the importance of bees for our survival and how endangered they have become in the recent days. Actually, according to the video, bees may soon be extinct if we do not do anything about it. The science fiction was based on Robobee as a solution to saving bees, which is almost impractical in real world. However, there is a more realistic progress in nano-robotics. Nanobees have been used in cancer treatment, and the same can be explored with food supply.
The collaborators of nanobees technology had a number of visions and aims in mind. To begin with, they envision that research, which is nature-inspired, can lead to a better understanding of how to artificially ape the intelligence and collective behavior of a bee satellite. They also envisioned how to foster new methods for designing and constructing an electronic proxy nervous system that has the capacity of deftly sensing and adapting to varying environments. Part of the vision also included advancing efforts on the building of small-scale flying motorized devices.
The scientists also have high expectations that the devices will open doors for a wide range of discoveries more broadly as well as practical innovations. These discoveries and innovations are expected to be applicable in advancing fields such as entomology or development biology and more broadly, electrical engineering and amorphous computing. The team expects to come up with an interactive exhibit through collaboration with Museum of Science, Boston in order to teach and motivate future engineers and scientists.
Body, Brain, and Colony
The team will look for ways of emulating aerobic feats in the devices to ensure they are life-sized and take up features of the real-life bee. In addition, attaining autonomous flight might need compressed and high-energy sources of power and associated electronics that are incorporated seamlessly in the machine's body.
The creation of artificial sensors that will act as brain that is similar to the eyes and antennae of the bees is one of the most complicated and challenging aspect of the exploration by the scientists. Ultimately, they must create both a hardware and software to serve as the brain of the nanobees. Hence, it will carry functions such as flight control and monitoring, coordinating, decision making and sensing objects including other devices.
There is a need to mimic the real behavior of a bees' colony and this will call for development of communication methods and complicated coordination algorithms. In essence, they should demonstrate ability to talk and move from one hive to another. Therefore, there is need for local and global programming as simulation tools that will enable scouting, foraging, and planning as in real bees.