Bees have it rough. We shoo them away from our picnics, vilify them in our horror movies, and shudder at the prospect that they may someday inspect our luggage. To make matters worse, nature’s perfect pollinators are in the midst of a massive population collapse, on which scientists have plenty of theories (but little else) to explain why bees are (*ahem*) dropping like flies.
Just in time for summer, a buzzy new collaboration from Timberland and Pharrell Williams that’s also good news for nature’s tiniest friends. The boots, patterned to look like honeycombs and blades of grass, are produced with Bionic Canvas, a unique textile made from Bionic Yarn, a product co-created by Williams that utilizes organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles to produce a sustainable material. So far the boots have been a huge hit with trendsetters, including Beyoncé, who wore the shoes in her recent “Feeling Myself” music video with Nicki Minaj. Bee and Bey-friendly? We might just be feeling these kicks ourselves.
Robotics engineers are buzzing about a machine with potentially transformative implications for agriculture, surveillance, and mapping: the "robobee." Researchers at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences plan to have the mechanized critters flapping though the air autonomously within the next three years, according to NPR. And if coaxing the machines into flight isn't enough of a challenge, the real innovation lies in getting the machines to mimic the collaborative behavior of a colony.