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Robot Bees Designed To Take Over for Real Dying Bees

A bumblebee flying near lavender.

Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP/GettyImages.

Autonomous robot bugs sound like creatures from a sci-fi flick, but they could be a reality very soon.

Scientists at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex in England are designing the first electronic bees in hopes that they can “supplement or replace the shrinking population of honey bees that pollinate essential plant life,” according to the tech blog io9.

The Green Brain Project, as the effort is called, will upload real bees’ senses of sight and smell into the tiny robots. Scientists hope these basic cognitive abilities will allow e-bees to detect odors and gases from flowers, just as bees do. The project plans to release the bees in 2015.

Along with making the world safe for pollination, these bees don’t sting. That is, unless they get into the wrong hands …