Photo: Mark Stone | University of Washington.
The UW team designed a sensor "backpack" that weighs 102 mg, about the weight of seven grain rice.
"We decided to use hops because they are large enough to carry a small battery that can run our system," says Iyer, a PhD student at the UW Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering.
Unlike man-made drones, bees can fly for hours and can also sense things that electronic objects can not, said Gollakota.
"With a drone you just fly by chance," he said, "while a bee must be drawn to certain things, like the plants, it prefer to pollinate. And on top of learning about the environment, you can also learn a lot about how the bees behave. "
In September, the UW research team plans to present their results at ACM MobiCom 2019, an international forum dedicated to addressing the challenges of mobile computing and wireless and mobile networks.
This is not the first time the team has revealed a method of insects in flight. Based on UW funding, in May, they revealed RoboFly, a robo insect driven by an invisible laser beam pointing to a photovoltaic cell that is attached over the robot and converts the laser light into sufficient electricity to operate its wings. But with its small battery it's mostly it can do so far to go out and land.
Nevertheless, engineers plan to abandon RoboFly, as there are many promising applications, a robo insect can handle that living IoT simply can not. First, RoboFly's flight patterns can be controlled, which means that they may even sniff gas leakage, float under plants to detect pests and diseases and slide into small spaces to find disaster survivors.