Tiny Drones With Sticky Feet Pollinate Flowers Now

Is there anything those clever drones can't do? Now, they can pollinate flowers, thanks to sticky feet like insects have.


(Flying drone picks up pollen from friendly flower)

The undersides of these artificial pollinators are coated with horse hairs and an ionic gel just sticky enough to pick up pollen from one flower and deposit it onto another. Far from replacing bees, the drones' designers are hopeful that their invention could someday help carry the burden that modern agricultural demand has put on colonies and in turn benefit farmers. The work appears February 9 in the journal Chem.

The gel used for the artificial pollinators was the result of an experiment gone wrong. In 2007, senior author Eijiro Miyako, a chemist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Nanomaterial Research Institute, was working to make liquids that could be used as electrical conductors. One of his attempts generated a gel as sticky as hair wax, which he considered a failure. After a decade of sitting in a storage cabinet in an uncapped bottle, it was rediscovered unchanged during a lab cleanup. Inspired by concerns over honeybees and news reports on robotic insects, Miyako began to explore, by using houseflies and ants, whether the gel could work to pick up pollen.

"This project is the result of serendipity," says Miyako, who worked with postdoctoral fellow and first author Svetlana Chechetka. "We were surprised that after 8 years, the ionic gel didn't degrade and was still so viscous. Conventional gels are mainly made of water and can't be used for a long time, so we decided to use this material for research."

This sounds like a job for the amazing little "scarab" drone, the robot protagonist in Raymond Z. Gallun's astounding 1936 story The Scarab:

The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together, as flies will do when at rest. Then, apparently satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey...
(Read more about the scarab robot flying insect)

Via PhysOrg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/5/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day. Speaking as someone who as done this, I welcome robots.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.