According to China Dialogue, “In recent years, farmers have been forced to hand-pollinate their trees, carrying pots of pollen and paintbrushes with which to individually pollinate every flower, and using their children to climb up to the highest blossoms. This is clearly just possible for this high-value crop, but there are not enough humans in the world to pollinate all of our crops by hand.”
So along come Bionic bees! Wired Online has a story, “Engineers plan to upload bee brains to flying robots.” In the article we read that, “Engineers from the universities of Sheffield and Sussex are planning on scanning the brains of bees and uploading them into autonomous flying robots that will then fly and act like the real thing.” What will they do with these “Bionic Bees”? Engineers say they could “be used for a range of situations where tiny thinking flying machines should be more useful than current technology, which might mean seeking out gas or chemical leaks, or people who are trapped in small spaces. They might even help pollinate plants in places where natural bee populations have fallen due to the still-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.”
Bionic Bees pollinating food crops? Yes, and coming sooner than you think to an orchard near you.