Life-Like Animal Robots Take on Important Jobs

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

A look at some of the most fascinating robots inspired by nature

Surveillance camera hummingbirds, huge robo-mules marching off to war, life-saving cyborg cockroaches. It’s not science fiction; it’s the beginning of what seems to be a whole new world. Take a look at some of the most amazing animal influenced robots that are set to take on the land, oceans, and skies for some very important reasons.

Plant-pollinating RoboBee

It’s summertime again, meaning all of those pesky insects are back in action. But this year brings a new breed of bug flying through the skies: robotic bees. As the bee population has been drastically declining, a team at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences began looking for an artificial alternative to pollinate plants. Their solution was RoboBee, a robotic buzzing bumble with the ability to travel in large swarms, assisting humans in agricultural production and exploring hazardous environments. The team has been working on sensors that can inform the robot similar to the way a bee’s antennae and eyes do.

RoboBee

Swarms of RoboBees may someday be used to pollinate plants. Image via gizmag.com.

Pollution sensing robotic fish 

Swimming swiftly through the ocean just like an actual fish, this self-guided robot may be the best weapon in the fight against pollution. Created by computer scientists at the University of Essex in England, it uses built-in sensors and artificial intelligence to make its way around underwater obstacles and respond to environmental changes. The fish can detect leaks in oil pipelines and explore the sea floor, feeding the information back to shore. Its micro-electrode arrays can detect lead, copper, and other pollutants, as well as water salinity and oxygen levels. It’s able to glide through the water for up to eight hours on a single charge before being recovered by boat.

Pollution Sensing Fish

The pollution-sensing robotic fish looks and swims just like an actual fish. Image via natgeo.com.

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