Tiny Backpacks Are Now Turning Bees into Living Drones

While drones are great piece of tech, they still have a lot of flaws including their short battery life, fragility and overall size. But, what if drones could have more energy and be aware of their surroundings while having a size of an insect? Well, while this is still not possible with today's technology, living and breathing bumblebees could do the trick.

University of Washington and their team of engineers recently revealed that they have come up with a way to keep their drone in the air for up to seven hours. How? By putting a wireless platform, with sensors, location trackers and Wi-Fi communication, on the backs of bees.

The idea here is to put this tiny backpack on an insect, who would then fly over huge fields and collected valuable information including those about temperature and humidity while also monitoring crop health.

These "bee backpacks" costs only a few dollars and weighs 102 mg, which is equal to seven grains of rice.

"With a drone, you're just flying around randomly," – said one of the students from University of Washington Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "while a bee is going to be drawn to specific things, like the plants it prefers to pollinate. And on top of learning about the environment, you can also learn a lot about how the bees behave."

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