Inspired by the biology of a bee, the RoboBee is an autonomous flying robot developed by researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute. Weighing less than one tenth of a gram and standing at only half the height of a paper clip, the RoboBee harbours artificial muscles and smart sensors mimicking insect eyes and antennae. The robots can “perch” on surfaces with static electricity, swim underwater and transition quickly to flying, as well as contract their “muscles” with voltage shocks. The RoboBees are intended to operate in groups as an effective unit, allowing them to harness their capacities of swarm intelligence. While RoboBees are still in the development stage, they carry potential uses in crop pollination, search and rescue missions, and a plethora of human and ecological monitoring applications. Currently, the RoboBees have not yet been deployed and still appear to be in the research and development stage. Critics argue that research effort would be better spent saving real bees (rather than inventing expensive robotic counterparts).

Chen, Y., Wang, H., Helbling, E. F., Jafferis, N. T., Zufferey, R., Ong, A., . . . Wood, R. J. (2017). “A biologically inspired, flapping-wing, hybrid aerial-aquatic microrobot“.


Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, Ecological Monitoring, Industry/Natural Commodities, Lifestyle, Monitoring