Karl von Frisch would perhaps turn over in his grave at the new technology being perfected at Harvard University. The invention of the Robotic Bee is being programmed to behave as near to an actual bee as possible, except, bee robots can’t dance. Frisch dedicated his whole life to the study of the honey bee, eventually receiving the Nobel Prize for his discoveries which included the miracle of the bee dance. Robo-bees won’t be making any honey apparently either, neither will they be able to sting you, so that’s a plus. What will these robotic bees be doing if not creating your favorite sweetener?

Monsanto’s Robotic bees are being programmed to pollinate flowers, live in hives and do a few other ‘not so bee-like’ bee-haviors. The Microbiotic lab at Harvard reports seeing a “host of possible uses for the robotic insects, including military surveillance, search and rescue missions, exploration of hazardous environments, traffic surveillance, and weather and climate mapping.” With these kinds of qualifications, I’m not sure we should actually call them ‘bees’, though ‘bugs’ for sure. Owned by none other than the biotech monster, Monsanto, I am not sure all intentions ought to be trusted. Apparently, these robo-insects will be completely autonomous as well as wireless, weighing less than 10 grams and no bigger than a paperclip. Right now the challenges faced by developers is “colony coordination behavior, working on the brain and the power source.” Making them ‘act like bees’ is not so simple.

Researchers received inspired for this project by watching the recent documentary Silence of the Bees, where they were informed about ‘colony collapse disorder’, a phenomenon where worker bees in a colony will suddenly disappear. Hence project RoboBees began. At least this is the reported story on how it began. With Monsanto involved I am a little suspicious that other thoughts were at work as well.

Though new research such as this can be exciting, we better really hope that we don’t actually need the robot bees to pollinate flowers due to honey bee disappearance. Bees pollinate over 90% of fruit and vegetable crops world-wide. Though technology could step into to help and possibly even do a stellar job at replacing lost bees in regards to pollination, we would have more problems than just a lack of honey bees if this were to occur. Not only do bees pollinate the majority of food on this planet, but if they were to all disappear, what would this indicate for humanity? What does their very presence on this planet represent? For one thing, the bee dance is one of the miracles of the ages, and bee robots can’t do it.

I wonder if their lifespan will be similar as well, about 4 weeks. Want to pollinate your crops this year..pony up!

  1. MarioWario says:

    E. g. you can conterminate your neighbours lawn with poisoned corn – congrats Monsanto.

  2. Dallas says:

    I need one of those

  3. Cleveland Guy says:

    What about the power source? A robot bee without a power source is a paper weight.

    • Sam says:

      They probably periodically plug themselves in and recharge, back at the solar-powered beehive.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      The video mentions an external voltage is needed to be applied for the wings to move. It could carry a battery, a solar cell, or maybe it could be painted with an experimental solar-cell paint.

  4. msbpodcast says:


    Aint science wonnerful?

    Now thank to Monsanto we can look forward to having to pay for our crops to get fertilized as well as grown.

    Does anybody smell a massive coercive arm-twisting coming to get our crap, I mean crops, coming from the USDA to the FDA to buy stuff to get us to digest what ever we bought to eat…

    According to Socrates, our food is supposed to be our medicine.

    Socrates never met a sales manager working for Monsanto…

    • msbpodcast says:

      our crops to get fertilized as well as grown.

      Sorry, I meant: our crops to get pollinated as well as grown.

      • Tim says:

        You had it well enough the first go-round. With the new awakening as to the poison food, the ignorance of the plebs is particularly highlighted.

        In this silly flick is a scene where they must bet on whether a man that has been in prison will choose sex or food first — guess what happens? If you said “he chooses to fuck the turkey” then ‘ding ding ding’ you just wone the cupie-doll.


        • Tim says:

          I’m putting extra vawals where they do not belong so as to exaust the NSA budget and make them just kill themselves by making make make work for thier job description be satisfied concurrent. i be making them work hard to figure out what it be I just said ‘fuche the man’.

  5. Dum Dum says:

    Holly crap! Mechanical insects with the ability to FLY! And here, I though everyone was against big ol’ DRONES!

    After reading the comments so far, it seems no one has the ability to think and envision anything beyond what the author TOLD us — probably due to a complete lack of imagination. You’re all so concerned about being shot or bombed from above by a weaponized drone that you never even CONSIDERED that a mechanical flying insect could quite easily inject a person or even several people with POISON! (Something Monsanto probably knows VERY WELL, by the way.) Natural born mosquito’s and flea’s do it all the time and are very successful at killing BILLIONS of people — without our help!

    So screw the agricultural conspiracy theory for a second. Think about the MILITARY applications!!!

    • Sam says:

      Wait ’til these little suckers learn to how to clone themselves, then develop a survival attitude.

      Science fiction? Not for long.

    • McCullough says:

      Ah, quit being so paranoid, the NSA has denied they have any such plans for these drones.

      And I believe them.

    • Dallas says:

      You’re in the right forum for tin hatters

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      In one of the early X-Files episodes, the Lone Gunmen warn about a video camera that could fit on the back of a fly. I guess training the flies was put on hold.

  6. UncDon says:

    And Monsanto has the money to, eventually, engineer a bio-robo-bee that looks and acts just like a real bee, save for the Micro-Taser unit on the large thorax model.

  7. Anonymous Coward says:

    Given how Monsanto sues farmers whose crops are contaminated with GMO pollen from adjacent fields, I expect these tiny drones to be used to “accidentally” pollinate nearby fields with Monsanto’s own genetically modified pollens so they can be sued later.

    • Tim says:

      Yep. That’s Monsanto. It’s like they come into your house and shit on your kauphy table then call the cops. The cops then arrest you because that is obviously their shit in your living room.

  8. deowll says:

    Some how I have the feeling we are all going to be dead before these things are pollinating plants and making honey and wax back at the hive.

    I also have to wonder how the birds are going to react to these things. Eat them? Would that make them sick?

  9. msbpodcast says:

    Its Monsanto contribution to my warped sense of humor.

    I just glanced at the trile of the browser tab real quick and I read:
    Colon Prolapse Disorder

  10. Glenn E. says:

    Monsanto: All Your Bees Does Belong To Us.

  11. Porky Rottenham says:

    I see Monsanto is well known in this forum. At this rate, in another 25 or 30 years, public awareness may pick up.


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