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Dandelion-inspired 'fairy' robot sails on the breeze

Still Waters

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Weighing in at just 1.2 milligrams, a new robot called FAIRY – that's short for Flying Aero-robots based on Light Responsive Materials Assembly – is the first flying bot we've seen based on soft materials that respond to light.

The robot was inspired by dandelion seeds, and ultimately it could be used in the same way: its creators are hoping that it might be deployed to help mitigate the loss of pollinators (such as bees) that we're currently seeing in the wild.

Light can be used to get the FAIRY up into the air, and to control the spread of its bristles. After that, the ultra-light bot travels on the wind, and could potentially be dispersed across large distances, just like the seeds that it's based on.


The research has been published in Advanced Science.


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Maybe those can take over pollination duty when human induced climate change and habitat loss have killed off all the bees and butterflies.

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I'm not one of these paranoid crackpots, but they say
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  • 2 weeks later...
The whole SAVE THE BEES is actually inaccurate.

Bees are the biggest pollinator in terms of how much pollen per bee, but 40% of all pollen is actually spread by flies.

Flies may not carry as much pollen as a bee, but they are far more resilient, reproduce far quicker and in much greater numbers and are not affected by as many man-made issues such as pesticides that kill bees.

So while we should try and save bees, as they do provide a service and should be supported. It wouldn't be the end of the world scenario if they all died out, especially as flies can be engineered to carry more pollen if things really did get that dire.
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