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‘Black Mirror’ Plot Is Coming To Life After Dutch Scientists Create Robotic Bees

‘Black Mirror’ Plot Is Coming To Life After Dutch Scientists Create Robotic Bees

The flying robots will be used to help pollinate the world’s plants if real bees die off

Rachael Grealish

Rachael Grealish

Can TV predict the future? The Simpsons is one show that's attracted attention for its Nostradamus tendencies, but another one that's fast gaining a reputation for telling us what's on the cards is the dystopian bizarro-world of Black Mirror.

The show, created by writer and TV critic Charlie Brooker, has predicted some pretty remarkable things in its (thus far) four-season run, although the 2015 scandal involving then-Prime Minister David Cameron and a pig must surely rank among the most unexpected.

Well, the show's eerily accurate predict-o-meter seems to be flashing once more - it seems we can expect the decline in the bee population to be fixed by swarms of robotic bees, just like in the Black Mirror episode 'Hated in the Nation'.

Delft University of Technology

Scientists from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands believe they found a solution to issues that come from climate change causing bees to die out - it seems the mechanical bees could help pollinate plants.

(All fine, until Skynet becomes self-aware and the robot bees sting humanity into slavery. Come on, boffins, think about the important safety issues for once.)

The little robotic creatures, called Delfly Nimlbe, have wings that beat 17 times per second so they can get up to speeds of 15 miles per hour.

Despite any misgivings about the potential rise of our robot overlords, it all sounds pretty amazing - especially since we rely on the buzzing little creatures to do an awful lot.

Black Mirror/Netflix

In the dark political satire of Black Mirror, of course, the bees were manipulated and reprogrammed by hackers to kill people instead.

Reassuring, given the show's habit of foreseeing the future.

Oh, also, the current bots that are available have a wingspan of 33cm, making them 55 times bigger than an actual bee. Not terrifying at all.

Luckily, the scientists are adamant these robo-bees are just a means for us to learn more about bees. Which I suppose is a relief, sort of.

Dr Matěj Karásek, a researcher on the project, told the Guardian: "The use we see for this is pollination in green houses. The bee is under threat due to our farming methods and we don't know what their future will be. This is one solution.

"We are not trying to copy flies and bees, but we are trying to learn from them. Physics limits how small normal drones can be."

He added: "I think within five to ten years we will have the technology to make the drones much smaller and we could see them put to use in greenhouses."

Greenhouses controlled by Skynet, no doubt. Keep vigilant, everyone.

Featured Image Credit: Delft University of Technology / Netflix

Topics: Charlie Brooker, black mirror, Science, TV and Film, News, Technology, Weird