New RoboBees show that the future of robotics is very, very small
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: September 13th, 2015
At Harvard, researchers led by Robert Wood are developing RoboBees a completely mechanical flying device loaded up with sensors and batteries that would fly from flower to flower, picking up and then depositing pollen the way a real honeybee would. These RoboBees ... could theoretically replace a colony of honeybees with a swarm of robotic bees. A National Geographic video ... showcased examples of robotic flies, robotic millipedes that crawl over toys and robotic cockroaches that scurry across the floor. There are plenty of uses for these small, bio-inspired robots that go beyond crop pollination. When deployed as part of a robotic swarm, these tiny robots might be used as part of search and rescue missions. They could be used to explore dangerous natural environments where humans cant go, or used as part of high-resolution weather and climate mapping initiatives. They could be used to monitor traffic patterns from a distance or to report back on oil pipelines that have been deployed through uninhabited zones. Of course, theres a downside to tiny robots being deployed all over the globe. Consider, for example, how they might be deployed in warfare. The U.S. Department of Defense has already started to investigate the prospect of sending tiny buzzing fleets of robo bugs to spy on the enemy. These micro aerial vehicles would function much like unmanned drones today but would be virtually undetectable.