In this episode, robot bees get laser eyes. This is your Manufacturing Minute.
Harvard University debuted its RoboBee technology back in 2012 as an attempt to offset lost pollination caused by bee die-offs. Since then, the little guys have learned to fly and to swim, and soon, they’ll also learn to see.
The tiny drones need to be able to self-navigate and have the depth perception to land on a small flower.
So, the National Science Foundation awarded a $1.1 million grant to the University at Buffalo to equip the robots with lidar lasers. Lidar — short for light detection and ranging — is the same tech that lets driverless cars park themselves.
The main obstacle is scaling the lasers down, but when scientists succeed, it could also be used in mobile devices, smartphones and endoscopic tools.
So, What Do You Think?
Do you think these RoboBees are an economical way to solve the pollination problem? Do you see other uses for these tiny flying robots? Email us or leave your comments below.
That’s all the time we have for today, but tune in every weekday for your next Manufacturing Minute.