Bees Robot, A Realistic Alternative To Increase The Production Of Strawberries? -

Bees Robot, A Realistic Alternative To Increase The Production Of Strawberries?

It is a fact that bees are disappearing  from our world. There are many reasons for this, including pesticides and poor nutrition, although the causes are not fully understood.

Most beekeepers have to buy or rent them. These losses are causing an increase in prices. It is estimated that US beekeepers have lost 40% of their honey bee colonies, according to the US Bee Informed Partnership.
Russian scientists from the Polytechnic University of Tomsk consider an alternative: the use of robot bees. The researchers intend to launch the project in 2019. According to their plans, the size of the prototypes would be at least seven times larger than the real bees, that is, they would reach the size of the palm of a hand.

For use in greenhouses

As explained by Alexéi Yákovlev, director of the engineering school of the Polytechnic University of Tomsk, artificial bees would be especially beneficial for strawberries and other plants that grow in greenhouses throughout the year. 
"We are planning to develop bees, algorithms and software , as well as optical systems and image recognition methods to achieve accurate positioning," explains Yákovlev. The creation of the first batch of 100 flying robots will cost about 1.4 million dollars.
"Farmers are using bumblebees for pollination in large greenhouses throughout the year," explained Yákovlev. "A bumblebee family costs around $ 500. In winter they fly with infrared light, which simulates the heat of the sun. However, in spring bumblebees can escape, which is an economic loss. " While the robots would work non-stop and never escape.

In any case, artificial bees do not solve the problem of extinction, Yakovlev told Russia Beyond . "We discussed the possibility of using robot bees only in the greenhouse, outside their natural habitat."
However, farmers who grow apples, cherries and other fruits use bees in open spaces. In the US almond producers pay about $ 200 per hive, while blueberry growers spend $ 110 and apple producers pay around $ 70.
In some farms, they are considering the possibility of pollinating with alternative species. According to experts , there are three other important pollinating animals: bats, flies and mosquitoes.

When are these robots going to fly?

To date, no attempt to create an artificial alternative to bees has been successful. In 2017, Eijiro Miyako, of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Japan, developed a kind of drone aircraft to transport pollen among the flowers.
The bottom of the device is covered with horsehair and covered with a special sticky gel. When this drone flies over a flower, the pollen grains adhere slightly to the gel and then release into the next flower.
A series of tests were done in which the drone pollinated Japanese lilies. The soft and flexible hairs of the animals did not damage the stamens or the pistils when they fell on the flowers.

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