Japanese farmers will be able to maintain flooded rice fields while keeping the weeds out thanks to this cute robot duck known as Aigamo robot. Japanese farmers have been using ducks for helping them to grow rice in the paddy fields for centuries.
These friendly farm animals are able to paddle around in the flooded fields while taking out the insects and oxygenating the water, thus helping to prevent weeds from taking hold of the farm. The manure from ducks helps with the fertilization of the fields as well. However, when the commercialization of rice production began, the ducks were replaced with chemicals and pesticides.
However, an engineer at Nissan has plans of returning the ducks to the fields but not just regular ducks; a robot duck named Aigamo robot. The Aigamo robot is a floating and moving robot that has been designed to assist farmers in making sure that their paddy fields remain free of insects and weed without requiring the use of chemicals.
The Aigamo robot has been named after the breed of ducks that were actually doing this task before pesticides and chemicals took over. The Aigamo robot measures in at a weight of only 1.5 kilograms and features two rotating brushes in places of duck feet. The rotating brushes are used for stirring up the water and thus preventing weed growth.
You can check out the robotic duck in action in the video below. Japan is facing a threat to its rice production as the demand for the staple food is dropping and farming knowledge is not making its way through the generations because of a quickly aging population. As of right now, the Aigamo robot might seem like a passionate project by a single engineer; however it may very well soon define rice farming in Japan.