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Robot scout bee
To boost pollination efficiency of roving honeybee colonies, raise bees alongside remote-controlled robot 'sisters' who can rave about target food sources at a given new site.
Bees are busy indeed, and have proven great allies as
both honeymakers and crop-pollinators. California's yearly
almond crop, for example, reportedly needs the buzz-by of
hundreds of thousands of human-kept bee colonies, many of
whom are brought through the state specifically for the
pollination season. California is alluring for more
just almonds, tho -- and the pollination business, however
remains subject to the whim of the workers themselves,
may be enticed by more than just the target crop.
Trust me, it can be so tough to reach a
stubborn bee with silicon, sand, or celluloid stardom on her
But such bees may be cajoled on their own terms, which,
those of human females, often involve dancefloor
Yes, enter the robot bee scout -- trusty go-between middle
manager whom both bee and keeper can do business with.
with liveborn hivemates (to ensure she comes across as a
round-the-way bee) as well as a critical sprinkling of fellow
robot scouts, she can, by remote-controlled boogy, direct
adoptive sisters to food sources chosen by the keeper. On
arrival at a novel site, such robot 'scouting' can greatly
colony acclimation and food search times, and keep workers
focused on desired tasks-at-foot. Pollination efficiency is
boosted, colony size better maintained, and overall costs
dropped. Perhaps bees could, by such careful direction,
be enticed to perform other vaguely pollination-like tasks,
painting houses, salting roads, swarming fugitives, or
smuggling cocaine. I'm
Karl von Frisch would exult at the possibilities.
"One of the most imaginative efforts was the development of a "mechanical bee," a life-sized, brass robot covered with bee's wax, whose movements and sounds can be controlled remotely." [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
"...researchers in Denmark plan to construct a tiny robot dancing bee which can be used to recruit real honeybees to food sources - if they can learn the bees' language." [phoenix]
Honeybee and Robot Navigation
http://www.restena....unes/Navigation.htm [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
Honeybee and Robot Navigation
[phoenix, Oct 04 2004]
The Elusive Honey Bee Dance "Language" Hypothesis
Or is it sound? [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
||I'm not sure if you're proposing a miniature flying robot or just a communications device.
||In the case of a flying robot, well, bees aren't supposed to be able to fly themselves. You think we can do better?
||The latter case is Baked. (links)
||Latter (no actual robot flying needed); next time, I'll
make a beeline for google first. The 'Elusive...Hypothesis'
link is a real eye-opener, too -- thanks.
||<mildly dull aside>My MSc in Computational Neuroethology many moons ago was trying to create a virtual bee and model landmark navigation</mildly dull aside>