If bees were to go extinct we would be in trouble. They pollenate farmers crops. Without them we could struggle to grow food. Researchers in Japan are exploring whether tiny robotic drone bees might help.
Flowers need insects to carry pollen from one plant to another to create new seeds. The pollen sticks to them as they collect nectar from a flower and brushes off them when they visit the next. The Japanese team built tiny drones that weigh less than 5 sugar lumps. The bottom of the bee-drones are covered in sticky hairs that the pollen sticks to. They can then carry the pollen to another flower just like bees.
The next step is to give the bee drones robot brains so they can find the flowers on their own.
A future walk in the countryside could be full of the sound of the buzzing of artificial bees in the fields and meadows. Of course it would be better to find out exactly why the bees are dying and stop it happening. Computer Science can help there too, but that is another story.
Robot Readiness: to look after flowers