Saturday, 11 February 2017

It's not 'Black Mirror' nor fiction: the army of mini-drones pollinators is a real proposition

It's not 'Black Mirror' nor fiction: the army of mini-drones pollinators is a real proposition

There are species that disappear and we do not realize, sometimes or do and what we do not perceive are the consequences at the level of ecosystem or biosphere in general. It is something that is happening with the bees, which although they seem to continue to be part of our day to day every time there is less number, and one of the proposed solutions is to create drones as artificial bees.

This work, carried out by a team of scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) of Japan, proposes that the pollination be done by small drones, just what we saw in one of the episodes of the series 'Black Mirror' (Although we hope it does not happen there). To get them up and running, the impact would be less with the advantage that the drones would survive the natural causes that cause death to the bees.

From flower to flower in the simplest way possible
The problem of the apicultural population was accentuated especially in the United States , where the population has been reduced in half in the last 20 years. It is mainly feared by the consequences for the flora and the economy, since only in this country the bees are in charge of the pollination of 75% of the flowers and the raw material that they produce is basic for the obtaining of honey, propolis and others products.

How can they replace bees in their role of pollinating? Bees act as involuntary vehicles of pollen by being stuck to their paws when they extract the nectar from the flowers, attracted by the electrostatic charge they usually have there. The way in which it is intended to imitate this is with an adhesive ionic gel composed of complex molecules in the form of chains (1-vinylmidazole and 1-chlorobutane).

First they tested it with insects (flies and ants) to later do it with small drones of 2 inches, equipped with a lithium battery of 120 mAh and a gyroscope of six axles and four propellers for the flight , that is controlled by radio (2 , 4 GHz). What they saw is that these pseudo-bees were able to carry pollen from one flower to another, measuring their collection rate and examining the pistils of the flowers (where the pollen is to be fertilized by fluorescence electron microscopy) ).

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