News

Bionic Bees With Electronic Backpacks Could Replace Farm Drones

Bionic Bees With Electronic Backpacks Could Replace Farm Drones
Technology
Farmers across the globe are using drones to do everything from plant crops to monitor for pests. But drones are energy-intensive — according to University of Washington (UW)  researcher Shyam Gollakota , most can only fly for about 20 minutes before they need to recharge.

Gollakota and colleagues at UW think they’ve come up with a better alternative. They’ve created what they believe is the first sensor package that affixes to the back of a bumblebee — and it can collect data for upwards of seven hours.

Bumblebees typically weigh between  150 and 200 milligrams and can carry payloads equivalent to their own body weight and sometimes even heavier.

According to the UW team’s study , which it published online on Tuesday, each of its sensor packages weighs 102 milligrams. More than two-thirds of that weight is from the system’s battery, which recharges wirelessly when the bionic bees return to the hive each night.

The rest is from a custom-designed localization system that records the bee’s position, along with several tiny sensors that monitor the temperature, humidity, and light intensity around the bee. These sensors can collect up to 30 kilobytes of data, which the system uploads to a nearby access point after the bee returns to its hive at night.

As for how the researchers went about attaching their tiny electronic backpacks to the bees, that part of the process was actually pretty simple: They placed the insects in a freezer for 4 to 5 minutes. Once removed from the freezer, the bees were sluggish, giving the researchers enough time to fit each with a sensor package.

“[W]e followed the best methods for care and handling of these creatures,” researcher Vikram Iyer noted in a press release .

Hopefully, that means the little worker bees won’t plan on striking if they do find themselves employed by farmers in the near future.

I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy
Read more on futurism.com
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
Technology
Roboticists often look to the natural world for inspiration . But what about piggybacking technology onto nature itself Engineers have created a sensing system that effectively turns bumblebees into living...
Technology
Cameras found in smart homes or wearables need to transmit HD video, but it takes a lot of power to process that video and then transmit the encoded data over...
Science
Can artificial intelligence AI and machine learning help save the world s bees That s the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations....
Technology
This low power, video streaming prototype could be used in next generation wearable cameras, as well as in many other internet connected devices. Credit Dennis Wise/University of Washington This low power, video streaming prototype could be...
Sports
VANCOUVER—Most of the honeybees were still snug in their hives when the pickups rolled quietly past the farmhouse and onto the Delta, B.C. blueberry field. The sun was hiding just...