“Black Mirror” predicted bee-like pollination drones… and they’re here

Scientists have designed a tiny drone to aid bees in their pollination duties. Equipped with animal hair, the drone drops onto the center of a flower and gathers the pollen up, much like the bees do, although it looks a lot funnier with the drone.

We rely heavily on bees and other species to pollinate our plants, and though there isn’t global data, there have been enough local die-offs to spark widespread concern, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Now, a team of scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan have engineered drones featuring a specially-engineered adhesive that can pick up and deposit pollen.

The team is not looking to replace natural pollinators, but to assist them in their pollination efforts. They think that in a future, when bee populations are lower, drones like these might be able to relieve the stress of having to do all of the pollination.

As a fan of the hit Netflix show Black Mirror, this is a little troubling.


The bees get reprogrammed to kill people. While it doesn’t look like it would be so easy with these tiny replicas of traditional 4-propeller drones, who knows where science will take it? Well, apparently Black Mirror did.

You can watch Black Mirror instantly on Netflix.