‘Smart farming’: Researchers aim to turn bees into ‘tiny drones’ that monitor plant health

| | December 19, 2018
bees uwash
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[A] research team at the University of Washington has found a way to make bumblebees act like tiny drones. The group has developed a platform for sensing, computing, and wireless communication devices that’s small enough to piggyback on the insects.

Potential applications for what the researchers call “living Internet of Things platforms” might include smart farming to measure plant health. For example, moisture and humidity sensors could assist with precision irrigation, and temperature sensors can detect whether growing conditions are optimal for specific crops ….

“We wanted to leverage nature’s best flying machines,” says Shyam Gollakota, a computer scientist at the University of Washington, who led the research. “Insects can feed themselves—we don’t need to keep recharging their batteries. Fats and sugars can store much more energy for their weight than batteries.”

Related article:  Combination of stresses contributes to bee deaths

Read full, original article: Scientists Outfit Bees With Wireless Sensors to Create a “Living IoT Platform”

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