Not too long ago a mys­te­rious afflic­tion called Colony Col­lapse Dis­order (CCD) began to wipe out hon­eybee hives. These bees are respon­sible for most com­mer­cial pol­li­na­tion in the U.S., and their loss pro­voked fears that agri­cul­ture might begin to suffer as well. In 2009 the three of us, along with col­leagues at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, 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.

Read the article at Scientific American →