RoboBees…Man trying to play God?, or Trying to Solve a Problem Before it’s Too Late?
Scientists Develop Flying RoboBees to Pollinate Flowers as Bee Populations Decline
If you haven’t heard in recent years, Honey bee populations around the world have been in decline at an alarming rate. Various ecological factors ranging from ‘super mites’, to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and even cell phones, have scientists concerned about the future of the bees. Understandably, the question of ‘how would we be affected if the insects disappear completely?’ has been steadily circulating through the scientific ranks. Even though all of this will take some time to unfold, if action is not taken now, the planet’s ecosystems could be in serious peril in the future.
In an effort to rectify this impending problem, a team of Harvard and Northeastern University scientists are working on a swarm of miniature RoboBee robots that could pollinate flowers and do the job of real bees if required. Speaking to Scientific American, the team leaders said: “In 2009 the three of us began to seriously consider what it would take to create a robotic bee colony.” “We wondered if mechanical bees could replicate not just an individual’s behavior, but the unique behavior that emerges out of interactions among thousands of bees.” “We have now created the first RoboBees—flying bee-size robots—and are working on methods to make thousands of them cooperate like a real hive.”
The technical term the scientist use is called “biomimicking” & not only could these robots be used to pollinate flowers (in theory), but could be used to study climate, & ecological effects in other living species as well. There are several studies being conducted on Honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder, & scientists are working to find a solution to the declining bee population. Lets hope we never need these robots to do the job of their real-life counterparts.
*Steve’s Notes: Several of my friends have brought up some moral and ethical questions about creating robots to do the jobs of living creatures. Do you think this is Man trying to ‘Play God’, or do you feel this is the right thing to do to try and solve the problem? Leave Your Comments Below.