Simply Scientifico: Little Robotic flyers may replace insects as pollinators

Decline in the population of natural pollinators, like bees, has emerged as a threat to global biodiversity. It can, through a chain reaction, impact food production.

Published: 03rd February 2023 07:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

Researchers from University of California, San Diego, have found a new biomaterial that can repair injured tissue when injected into affected area by promoting tissue and cell repair and reducing inflammation. Although successfully tested in live animal models, it is awaiting human trials as it is found to have beneficial effects with potential applications for traumatic brain injuries and heart attacks. The biomaterial is a hydrogel. It is made from extraction of the extracellular matrix, which is from the cardiac muscle tissues. This is injected into damaged areas of the heart and brain. There, the gel triggers regeneration to form scaffolds in the damaged area.

Researchers have made a significant breakthrough towards replacing the dwindling insect pollinators with five-millimetre-sized robotic ‘insects making them capable of carrying out the function that is otherwise done by the natural pollinators. Decline in the population of natural pollinators, like bees, has emerged as a threat to global biodiversity. It can, through a chain reaction, impact food production. Finnish researchers from Tampere University have tapped stimuli-responsive polymers for the purpose. These have given them an opportunity to develop the next-generation small-scale, wirelessly controlled soft-bodied robots. The one they have developed is named “Fairy”. While these stimuli-responsive polymers have already made way for small robots that could walk, jump or even swim, none had been able to make them fly until now. Fairy is a polymer-assembly robot that can fly aided by wind and controlled by light. 

Swiss and Japanese researchers have developed a ‘collaborative steering’, an automated driving system that allows human drivers to control vehicles alongside the autonomous mode to eliminate chance of accidents that are feared when it comes to totally autonomous vehicles. This is based on fears that placing too much control of a vehicle in the hands of automation could do more harm than good, and that fully being hands-off by human drivers could up risk of accidents. Presently, vehicles in the market are either manual or automated, but never simultaneously in a collaborative mode, which allows the driver to take control of the wheel when human judgement can be applied while driving. Jointly developed by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) – also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne – and JTEKT Corporation of Japan, the research is based on the idea that automation systems should adapt to human drivers, and not vice versa, because when humans are not actively involved in driving they lose the ability to react.

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