it’s a well known fact that the world’s bee population is diminishing, and fast. however, scientists in japan seem to have found an alternate way of pollinating flowers, and the technology that they used is far simpler than you might think.  investigators at the national institute of advanced industrial science in tsukuba have just artificially pollinated a lily with a $100 drone from amazon.

eijiro miyako-bee drone designboom 02-10-2017

a close up of the $100 amazon drone used by the scientists  

 

 

to create their pollinator, the the scientists purchased a drone model for just $100 on amazon, and added patches of horse hair to the devices. the bristles were used to create more surface area for pollen to adhere to and to generate the electric charge that keeps the grains in place. the team then painted the contraption with an iconic liquid gel to make it moist and sticky. in a separate experiment using houseflies, the gel was even found to have a camouflage effect, meaning that it changed color in response to different sources of light, helping artificial pollinators avoid predators.

eijiro miyako-bee drone designboom 02-10-2017
an artistic impression of eijiro miyako’s biological project

 

 

the team flew their makeshift pollinator smack into the stamen of a pink and white japanese lily, and deposited its collection onto a different flower, artificially pollinating it. according to project leader eijiro miyako, it’s the first time that a drone has ever pollinated a flower. scaling such drone-pollination might seem unrealistic, but miyako believes that ‘it will be perfectly feasible’ to pollinate plants via drones in the future. however, the project will need high-res cameras, and would require the drones to learn pollination paths using GPS and artificial intelligence.

 

 

the bee-drone picks up pollen from one lily and deposits it on another

 

 

 

 

 

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

     (94 articles)

    technology news