back to article Harvard boffins cause buzz with robot bee

Instead of building a robot, why not print it? That’s more-or-less the approach demonstrated by Harvard engineers with an ingenious and attention-grabbing miniature robot bee. The process, which allows fixed and flexible joints to be created by layering materials in fabrication rather than assembling them, and allowing them to …


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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Better watch out

    We all know what happened last time someone colonised America.

    I for one ... Microbee overlords etcetera


  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    I was hanging out for footage of the thing in flight at the end of that video

    1. Pet Peeve

      Here's a link to a testflight video:

      The Dancing Bear effect applies.

  3. mfritz0
    Thumb Up

    This stuff is totally awesome.

  4. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Is there a chance El Reg commentards get at least a Robo Ms Bee back?

  5. Mystic Megabyte


    My Sheila can deal with these pests!

  6. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge


    +1 for the PKD ref.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Stanislaw Lem's "Upside Down Evolution" in Realtime

    Now with additional Steampunky Brass elements!

  8. Steve Ives

    Does the voice-over guy...

    ...have the world's most boring voice?

    couldn't they get Troy Maclure?

  9. annodomini2


    This was on CNET a week ago.

  10. markw:


    Been following this technology - excellent progress.

    However if you think you have privacy problems now wait until the world is swarming with fly-sized flying cameras.

    On a lighter note - why do Americans pronounce "solder" as "soder"?

    Very disconcerting...

    1. Andy Christ

      Eh, no...

      Actually we pronounce "solder" as "sodder."

      I'll buzz off now...

    2. rg20

      Re: Brilliant...

      Why do they pronounce "mirror" as "mrrrr", that girl on Mythbusters said it about 5 times in a row a few days ago, really annoying. Or President Bush saying "tourists" when he was talking about Terrorists!

      I dont mind them saying aluminum or "fall" for autumn and lots of others as they were the original English words, but when they mangle the pronunciation of words that are used on both sides of the pond - annoying.

  11. CD001

    They are the vanguard of our perfection...

    ... (or perhaps the vanguard of the vanguard)

  12. K. Adams

    "The larger aim ... is to create bio... robots that can 'fly and behave autonomously as a colony'.”

    Three words: Michael Crichton's "Prey."

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      "Prey" is one word!

      Summarizing it with "Abysmally Bad Writing" gives us three.

      1. K. Adams

        Re: "Prey" is one word!

        Well, "Michael" and "Crichton's" (the possessive form of "Crichton") may be -- in the vernacular of my fifth-grade English teacher -- "proper names," but they *are* words, nonetheless... :-)

        Point taken regarding the "Abysmally Bad Writing," though. I have to admit that even though I am a Crichton fan, "Prey" did manage to cross the lower borders of absurdity on a fairly regular basis...

  13. Jonathan Richards 1

    I know I'm not supposed to point it out...

    ...but there's such a delicious reflexiveness to the phrase "and hasn’t et seen a failure"

  14. OrsonX


    Not a robot.

    However, +1 for the interesting technology.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Robots building robots...and no mention of ROTM?

  16. Epobirs

    Asimov wrote this a long time ago

    Asimov had a short story in which robot bees were created to take on the job of pollination after ecological failure killed off most of the real insects doing the job.

    Go figure.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Asimov wrote this a long time ago

      Yes, good point, we can build robots all we want but they must have a purpose i.e. be driven to an objective to be truly autonomous.

      In nature bees act for the benefit of the colony, ultimately to perpetuate the species. A side effect of their existence is interaction with other species in a carefully balanced ecosystem, but they don't know this. All they know is 'get nectar, protect colony', and then they just get on with it without any other intervention.

      How will be imbue 'purpose' into robo-bees?

  17. David Glasgow

    Not impressed....

    I was hanging on to see it sting someone at a barbecue.

    1. Kugutsu

      Re: Not impressed....

      You're thinking of wasps. Bees wouldn't be interested in barbecues, being vegetarians (nectar, pollen, propolis - all plant products). Wasps on the other hand are second hand carnivores, as they feed their larvae meat, which in turn secrete sugar syrup which the adults use as their energy source. Also wasps use their sting to hunt, so they are naturally more aggressive, and able to sting without dying (bee stings are barbed, and stinging pulls their guts out, while wasp stings are smooth, so it can fly away and come back for another go later)...

  18. Lord Raa

    Life Imitating Art

    I'm reminded of Simon Bovey's Afternoon Play Hivemind. Several years into the future, the extinction of the bee in Britain has meant that people need to manually pollinate crops until some company comes up with an artificial bee.

    All is well, until a number of dead mice and birds are found in that field...

    Worth a listen if you can track down a copy.

  19. Crisp

    Reminds me of that little fly robot out of Lexx

    And about half as smart too.

  20. You have not yet created a handle

    "The larger aim of the Harvard project, supported by the NSF, the Wyss Institute and the US Army Research Laboratory, is to create bio-inspired robots that can “fly and behave autonomously as a colony”

    WHY!? Just why....

    1. Crisp

      Because they can?

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