From the department of "just because we could, doesn't mean we should" comes news that researchers are planning swarms of robotic bees and spiders. Insisting that micro robots "really aren't anything to worry about", Dr Mostafa Nabawy, Microsystems Research Theme Leader at the University of Manchester and bionic-bug-botherer- …
When swarms of robotic bees are deployed, just hunker down until the first software update, which will either totally disable them or make the Africanized organic sort seem positively benign. far more likely the former. (Always look on the bright side of life). Or, you know, stay in a mobile dead-zone.
That's like trying to use a laser to shoot down drops of rain to stop your head getting wet.
If bees or spiders are in danger, then help them. Or change the crops.
Robotic bees will not replace real bees. Just as glasses don't "replace" eyes.
If these people want to make robotic insects, then that is cool, great research and can be a good thing. They either need to fire their marketing, or get a grip or reality.
"If bees or spiders are in danger, then help them."
Based on current events, what you do is replace the bees* with a person on minimum wage with a small paint brush. If they're lucky the collecting the pollen is done using automation, so all you need to do is "paint" the pollen onto the flowers.
It's very common on a micro scale for breeding plants, and it gets used in China and India on quite large scales.
"Or change the crops."
Many of these crops are from trees. Planting an orchard is a pretty serious investment, you can't just replant with a different crop next season.
Much the same issue with telling Cali farmers to rip out their almond orchids (IIRC requires bees too) to cut down on their water usage. The costs are even more front loaded than usual with agricultural production, and it takes a few seasons to get production up to speed.
So changing crops is not as easy at it may appear, and the alternative is manual labor. Sounds like a perfect case for automation :)
* the bees have died off or not doing enough, rather than they being phased out
Thanks for the info (I knew about private cultivation options, no idea if it was used industrial scale).
My example was merely saying *where* the problem was. For example, if you get a flat tire, the solution is not to turn the road into rubber and inflate it. Though both options work (metal wheels on rubber/rails, or inflatable wheels on a tarmac road. ;) ).
So while I agree there are obstacles to helping bees/spiders and difficulties changing crops/pollination/ecology, they are easier and better solutions than "make artificial *and* robotic bees". :P
Prototype spiderbots already exist that can jump several centimetres, and the real thing can jump six times longer than its own body length. Far better than the abilities of a puny human.
Than a puny human, perhaps. A magnificent specimen such as myself is easily capable of jumping several centimetres or six times longer than the body length of a spider. Why, I did it just the other day.
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