Bionic bees will replace drones in aerial reconnaissance missions

The University of Washington has developed a design for tiny "backpacks" that can be worn on bees. They do not interfere with insects from their usual tasks, and do not give control over them. It is just a container for a small set of sensors, but the concept itself has wide applications.

The idea is to use the natural properties of bees - stamina, hard work and habit of flying on more or less constant routes - to replace them with man-made flying machines in a number of air missions. For example, constant patrolling of a certain area - a hive is placed in the center, equipment is mounted on the bees and a huge number of aerial reconnaissance personnel are sent flying. In a similar way, you can study the state of the ecology of a region by what places the bees prefer to fly to and which ones they avoid.

It will not work to send a bee to a given area to spy on the enemy. But it can stay in the air for 7-8 hours without refueling, unlike man-made drones. We are talking about short-range vehicles; it makes no sense to replace large reconnaissance UAVs with powerful sensors with insects. As a result, you can get a new passive observation tool, invisible to the uninitiated.

The bee backpack only holds 107 milligrams of cargo, and therefore it will not work to put a camera or GPS module. There is still a simple radio beacon for determining the coordinates of a bee by triangulation, a thermometer, humidity and lighting sensors, a battery and memory of only 30 kilobytes. In the future, the developers want to replace it with a transmitter to broadcast the signal online directly to the base station. And, perhaps, engineers will be able to design very light and small cameras to get at least some kind of picture.