Smallest Existing Drone

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Yes, it is technically a drone, but the RoboBee is, well, exactly what the name implies: a very, very small drone that is directly inspired by insect biology. And it has many interesting potential applications beyond just spying.

For instance, it’s easy to imagine swarms of robot bees being very useful in hazardous environment assessments, say, in the aftermath of a nuclear plant accident or a natural disaster, or in search-and-rescue situations. Roboticists at Harvard, where the RoboBee was developed, also see them perhaps being used in weather and traffic monitoring, climate mapping, and other such already-entrenched technologies that the drones could further improve.

For that matter, you may have heard that actual honeybee colonies have been declining, potentially causing a host of problems for the rest of the planet’s creatures. This may not be so worrisome if we are able to deploy vast swarms of artificial bees, programmed to pollinate just like real ones, to compensate—another very realistic task for the RoboBee.

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