As most people have been made aware, bee populations have been in serious decline for quite some time now. Though scientists have yet to determine the specific cause for the dwindling numbers of these important pollinators, other scientists apparently aren’t waiting around to find out: Instead, a team of researchers from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have opted to work on a potential automated solution: a tiny robotic bee drone.
At just 1.5 inches wide and a half ounce in weight, this robotic bee replacement isn’t quite as small as its living counterpart, but is impressively close. The tiny drone flies by way of four miniature top-mounted propellers while the bottom of the drone does all the dirty work. A strip of horsehair coated with sticky gel is responsible for pollination by picking up pollen at one flower before dropping it off somewhere else. According to New Scientist, not only has the drone proved successful in cross-pollinating Japanese lilies, it also didn’t cause any damage to the flowers’ all-important stamens and pistils in the process.