Animal Robot Developed to Save Endangered Plant and Animal Species

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Manage episode 268608032 series 2530089
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Scientists developed a robot that will be used to help conserve endangered plant and animal species. Engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) created SlothBot, a robot that resembles a sloth. SlothBot monitors animals, plants, carbon dioxide levels, and other elements in its surroundings while hanging from a tree. The solar-powered robot is 3 feet long and has a 3D-printed shell that protects its motor, gears, battery system, and sensors. One of the engineers got the idea for SlothBot’s design when he visited Costa Rica and witnessed two-toed sloths moving slowly along overhead wires. SlothBot’s slow movement and efficient energy system enable it to monitor an environment that people can only observe while being physically present for a considerable amount of time. Currently, the engineers are using SlothBot at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where it mimics the slow motion of an actual sloth and creeps along a 100-foot cable strung between two trees. It monitors the garden’s temperature, weather, and other environmental factors. Atlanta Botanical Garden vice president for conservation and research Emily Coffey expressed her support for the innovation. She believes that SlothBot can help the facility advance its research and conservation goals. In the future, the team plans to enable SlothBot to move from one cable to another so that it can cover larger areas. Such an update would also allow SlothBot to be used for precision agriculture, a type of farming that uses information technology to ensure that plants and crops are in good condition. The robot’s cameras will be able to detect crop diseases, changes in humidity, and insect infestations. The engineers are also considering using the robot in South America to study orchids or endangered frogs once its usefulness has been proven in the botanical garden.

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