经济学人:授粉:为何雄蜂很差劲?(02)

It is a modified version of a commercially available robot quadcopter, 42mm across. (By comparison, a honeybee worker is about 15mm long.)

它就是市面上可以见到的那种四轴飞行器,只不过经过了改装,全长仅为42mm(相比之下,工蜂约为15mm长)。

But the modifications mean it can, indeed, pollinate flowers.

但是,改装后的飞行器可以进行授粉作业。

Specifically—and crucially—Dr Miyako has armed it with paintbrush hairs that are covered in a special gel sticky enough to pick pollen up,

值得注意并且至关重要的是——宫古博士用一种特殊的凝胶状毛刷将其包裹起来,这样就可以将花粉采集起来,

but not so sticky that it holds on to that pollen when it brushes up against something else.

不过当它与其他东西接触时,不会紧紧地粘住花粉。

Previous attempts to build artificial pollinators have failed to manage this. Dr Miyako, though, has succeeded.

此前的人造授粉设备都无法做到这一点,而宫古博士成功了。

Experiments flying the drone up to lily and tulip flowers, so that the gel-laden hairs come into contact with both the pollen-bearing anthers and the pollen-receiving stigmata of those flowers,

在实验中,人造雄蜂飞行至百合和郁金香花朵上方,涂有胶体的刷毛先接触花药黏附花粉,然后接触雌蕊柱头使花粉落下,从而完成授粉过程。

show that the drone can indeed carry pollen from flower to flower in the way an insect would—though he has yet to confirm that seeds result from this pollination.

实验表明,人造雄蜂确实可以像昆虫那样在花朵之间传递花粉,但作物经过授粉后能否受精发育出种子还有待进一步研究确认。

At the moment, Dr Miyako’s drones have to be guided to their targets by a human operator. The next stage will be to fit them with vision that lets them recognise flowers by themselves.

目前,宫古博士的人造雄蜂需要操作人员手动进行目标引导。下一步是要为这些小家伙安上“眼睛”,使其能够自行辨识花朵。

Fortunately, visual-recognition software is sufficiently developed that this should not be too hard.

令人欣慰的是,视觉识别技术已足够成熟,实现这一点并不困难。

In future, when you are walking through an orchard in bloom, listen out for the humming of the drones as well as the buzzing of the bees.

未来,你可以一边徜徉在怒放的花海中,一边聆听蜜蜂与人造雄蜂在身畔交织飞舞时的嗡鸣。

英文文本来自经济学人 译文来自陌生

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