Miyako is a chemist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan. He became passionate about the loss of pollinators after watching a TV documentary. It showed him the value of pollination. It also motivated him to take action.
In 2007, he had tried to make a gel that conducts electricity. But it was “a complete failure,” he recalls. So he poured the liquid into a jar, put it in a drawer and forgot about it. Cleaning out his lab in 2015, he accidentally dropped the jar and broke it.
Surprisingly, the gel was still sticky. It even picked up dust from the floor. Miyako realized that the way the gel captured dust was similar to how the hairs on honeybees trap pollen. At that point, a lightbulb went off in his head. Might this be the key to artificial pollination?