In recent times, a downfall in the world’s bee population has been worrying scientists and farmers across the globe. Bees help pollinate 90 different crops including melons, apples, blueberries, and some vegetables grown in North America. Without bees, there would be very little hope of continuing our farming techniques currently in use… until now.
Scientists who have been working on a solution to this epidemic have finally found an answer. “Plan Bee” is essentially a bee drone that has been designed to recreate the actions of bees and help pollinate crops. Made up of an extremely lightweight foam body, propellers, and tiny vacuum, this automated insect will fly over a flower, suck up pollen into its body and then carry it to other plants for cross pollination.
After 50 different designs, Anna Haldenwang, a senior at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, created a model that would do exactly the job that was needed. Though her design looks absolutely nothing like a bee, it still does the job. Plan Bee was designed to not look like a bee, but to imitate the qualities of flowers in order to honor the role that the plants play in pollination. Creator Haldenwang said in an interview with CNN that “When you flip it upside down, it looks like a flower.”
This is still quite a primitive design with lots of hoops to jump through before mass production and sales. Haldenwang would “love to see people use it in their backyards and even create custom gardens with it.” Additionally, there is the perk that “with an actual bee, it’s so small you don’t notice it and how it’s pollinating flowers. With the drone you can see how the process works.” If all goes well for this little automated insect, the hope is that it will be marketable in around two years.