Japan has invented Robo-bees that can pollinate the Earth. A team at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan engineered the devices using a combination of horsehair, $USD 100 drones and a sticky ion gel. First, the drones fly into flowers much like a bee would. Inside the flower, pollen gets stuck to the drone due to the combination of the ion gel and horsehair. That same pollen is then shaken off into the next flower, and so on.
While the tiny drones are impressive, the scientists from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology say the innovation is in the special gel covering them. Dr Eijiro Miyako experimented to see if ionic liquid gel could pick up pollen-like material from one flower, and then deposit it to a second flower.
Source (Imogen Brennan, “Japanese scientists create gel to allow tiny drones to mimic bees, collect pollen”, ABC News, 10.02.2017)