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Bees are dying at an unprecedented rate through the mysterious colony collapse disorder (CCD), usually attributed to pesticides, disease, and parasites. Harvard University came up with RoboBees to help solve the problem. The tiny, bee-size robots, which weigh less than a tenth of a gram, can lift off the ground and hover if they are tethered to a power supply. The researchers are working to get the robots to “talk” to one another as honeybees do and to transmit pollen. They think it could be functional within 10 to 15 years.
The PoseiDrone is a project by the Research Center on Sea Technologies and Marine Robotics that aims to provide a truly unique and novel perspective for underwater research. It’s the first underwater robot that is made from 90% soft materials and travels via jet propulsion of by crawling. It was inspired by the bodies of octopus and squid. WIth these soft materials, the robot is less likely to be harmed while it travels in water, and it works more naturally (and less intrusively) in underwater habitats. It’s currently just a prototype.
Robots that milk cows are quickly taking over the farm. The robots allow cows to line up for milking whenever they want, encouraged by feed. Sensors detect the udders and milk the cows. The system isn’t cheap — one setup with two robots for 100 cows was $1.2 million.
A Korean baseball team called the Hanwha Eagles that can’t seem to get real people to come to games found another way to generate fan support. The robots can cheer, chant, and perform the wave — really. They can be controlled by people who can’t physically make it to the games. They can even upload faces to the robot so it’s like they’re actually there.
The Ladybird is the first solar-powered robot that is capable of mapping, classifying, and detecting problems with crops on a farm using sensors and cameras. It was built by researchers at the University of Sydney, and its first trial on a farm was deemed successful.
The RoboCup, which was founded in 1997, has a goal of building a soccer-playing robot by 2050. In the annual competition, robots play one another on a miniature soccer field. It’s held in Brazil. The RoboCup team said by directing them to play soccer, which is difficult to do, advances the mechanics and software of robots in innovative ways.
This talking Canadian robot is hitching rides across Canada, and she/he has made it halfway across the country so far. HitchBot started in Nova Scotia and is traveling west to British Columbia, which is almost 4,000 miles. It is documenting its journey through Facebook, Instagram, and on its website, making it an interesting social experiment.
Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology invented robots that act like plants by growing and responding to stimuli in their environment. The idea is that the sensors on the plant could monitor the soil and health of the environment, and the creator said they could also offer a new possibility for medical tools because of the way they respond to their surroundings.
Tennis Ball Boy
Much like how a Roomba works, the Tennis Ball Boy rolls around the court and picks up tennis balls by sweeping the court with a velcro belt. Just slide out the drawer to retrieve the balls after it’s finished.