'Rosphere' Hamster Ball Robot Rolls Around Farms To Monitor Soil Conditions [VIDEO]
A team of Spanish researchers have unveiled the Rosphere, a robotic hamster ball-inspired device designed to roll around farm soil to monitor crops.
The Rosphere, created by scientists at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain, was designed in a hamster ball fashion to help it navigate the uneven terrain of a farm, be it soil rows or grass patches or even sand. Wheeled robots can have trouble in the face of uneven terrain or on shifting ground. But the Rosphere, being a ball, can roll over objects and can't fall over.
Like Us on Facebook
A hamster, of course, moves a ball by walking into the side of the ball, pushing it forward. The Rosphere contains a pendulum goes back and forth, changing the ball's center of gravity and making it roll over itself. The Rosphere, however, isn't autonomous yet: it must be wirelessly controlled from a laptop, from which researchers can control it.
According to the creators themselves, "ROSPHERE has shown a great potential for different applications on its preliminary tests. Improving its autonomous navigation or its mechanical strength would increase its application fields."
The goal of the creators of the Rosphere is to eventually outfit it with sensors that can report back to farmers about moisture levels and temperatures while rolling around their fields, letting farmers know the best time to water and tend to crops. The Rosphere's computer contains a GPS, letting farmers know what part of the field the readings are coming from.
Watch below to see the Rosphere move along uneven sand without missing a beat.
© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.