Miniature robots that mimic living organisms are increasingly important in exploring and supporting real-life ecosystems. Two EU-funded projects are exploring how artificial versions of living things integral to maintaining ecosystems can help ensure food for people remains plentiful.
One of the projects, led by roboticist and computer scientist Dr Farshad Arvin from the University of Durham, is focused on the queen bee. The robotic bee replicants are designed to stimulate egg-laying in the queen by feeding her the right foods at the right time. By doing so, they hope to have healthier broods and more active and healthy colonies, improving pollination.
The other project looks into shape-morphing robot roots that can adapt and interact with real plants and fungi. These robots are designed to explore and understand the vast networks that plants and their fungal partners form underground to help them and their environment survive and thrive.
Both projects are promising and expected to help create healthier ecosystems and ensure food for people remains plentiful. It’s an exciting time for the development of robotic technology and its potential applications for the future of our planet.