Monitoring crops using robots has been the trend for quite a while. However, wheeled robots are usually employed that face difficulties to overcome any major obstacle in the field. Moreover, the robots also have the danger of getting in the way of other machinery, making the lives of workers even more challenging.
Here comes Tarzan, a robot from Georgia Tech, that can swing over the plants like a monkey. Tarzan robot uses a tightly-strung guy wire to run over each row of the field and uses its two “arms” to take a turn on the wires. Thanks to the built-in cameras, it also provides surveillance images of the plants below. The robot then jumps on to the next wire in the adjacent row and starts the process once again, until the whole process is completed.
The robot will then send these pictures to a laptop, where an algorithm will be used to analyze the footage and check whether any of the plants were displaying signs of dehydration, disease, or infestation. Thus, a farmer can save a lot of time he often wastes while stooping over the plants.
Although Tarzan has monkey-like attributes, it is more akin to the dynamic behavior of a sloth that hangs flat using its arms. Same is the case with Tarzan, which might eventually be purely solar-powered.
Dr. Jonathan Rogers, Project Lead along with Dr. Ai-Ping Hu says,
“It could be out there in the field, powered by the sun, and swinging along on its way without needing batteries or needing to be charged. It could live outside for literally months at a time.”
Tarzan is due to be tested in the soybean test fields located near Athens, Georgia this summer. Watch the amazing robot in action below.