Welcome to the automated warehouse of the future

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They call it “the hive,” or “the grid.” Or sometimes just: “the machine.” It’s a huge structure that fills a warehouse on the outskirts of Andover, a small and quiet town in southeast England. It’s impossible to take in at a single glance, but standing on a maintenance walkway near the building’s rafters, you look over what seems to be a huge chessboard, populated entirely by robots. There are more than a thousand of them, each the size and shape of a washing machine, and they wheel about, night and day, moving groceries. Their job is to be cheaper and more efficient than humans, and they are very good at it.

The hive-grid-machine is the creation of Ocado, a British online-only supermarket that’s made a name for itself in recent years designing highly automated warehouses and selling the tech to other grocery chains. When fully up and running, Ocado’s Andover operation will be its most advanced yet, processing 3.5 million items or around 65,000 orders every week. It’s also a perfect example of the wave of automation slowly hitting countries around the world. The tasks being undertaken by Ocado’s bots are so basic they’re best described by simple verbs — “lifting,” “moving,” “sorting” — and that means they exist in various forms in a range of industries. And when the price is right, someone will want a machine to do those jobs, too.

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Parasitic flies attack honeybees turning them into zombies

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“Zombie” fly parasite causing decline of honeybee population.

A pile of dead bees was supposed to become food for a newly captured praying mantis. Instead, the pile of bees ended up revealing a previously unrecognized suspect in colony collapse disorder a mysterious condition that for several years has been causing declines in U.S. honeybee populations, which are needed to pollinate many important crops. This new potential culprit is a bizarre and potentially devastating parasitic fly that has been taking over the bodies of honeybees (Apis mellifera) in Northern California.

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How Do Bees Manage To Land Safely?

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Fancy Flying Makes For Better Honey?
Ever wondered how bees always manage to land on a picnic table, underneath a flower petal, or on a wall of a hive, without crashing or tumbling? Well, scientists have, for the first time, figured out how these insects touch down on all sorts of surfaces, from right side up to upside-down.

To find out, Mandyam Srinivasan, an electrical engineer from the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council’s Vision Centre, and colleagues first built a bee-landing platform that could be inclined at any angle from horizontal to inverted (like a ceiling), then they trained bees to land on it and began filming…

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Amazing Photos of Bees in a Bell Jar

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Honey bees have fascinated people for centuries, and people have built many types of hives to observe them.  Forcing bees to build combs inside glass jars is a common theme for observation hives. A bell jar was placed on top of a mini hive and bees from the nucleus started to create foundation of a hive in the jar. Once the foundation is laid, the bees work in masses to form the rest of the hive. (Pics)

 

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