As a species, bumblebees aren't doing well, so sadly, we may have to consider a future with fewer of the endangered insects. Humanity would be in trouble without these active pollinators, so Japanese scientists have created drones that mimic them by spreading pollen from plant to plant.
Researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology bought $100 drones and affixed patches of horsehair to the bottoms. They then applied liquid ion gels, which MIT Technology Review says are as sticky and moist as Post-It notes, to the horsehair. In tests, the drones were able to fly into the plants, grabbing and releasing pollen from the male and female parts of pink and white Japanese lilies.