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Engineer Sends Robotic Bees To The Rescue

Robert Wood
Robert Wood develops biologically inspired robots (Image credit: NSF)

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Robert Wood, founder of the Harvard Microbiotics Lab, develops robots inspired by nature. He heads a team of more than 40 researchers working to develop coordinated colonies of robotic bees. His research could have important applications including search and rescue, hazardous environmental explorations, pollination, traffic monitoring, military surveillance and high resolution weather and climate mapping.

This National Science Foundation-supported research recently resulted in an innovative fabrication technique — inspired by pop-up books and origami — that will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet. The mass-production technique could be used for high-power switches, optical systems and other electromechanical devices.

Wood is an associate professor in Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He recently received the National Science Foundations' highest honor, the Alan T. Waterman Award.

In the video below, he answers 10 questions related to his life as a scientist.

Name: Robert Wood Institution: Harvard University Field of Study: Robotics

Editor's Note: The researchers depicted in ScienceLives articles have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.