Robot mimics hamster in a ball to navigate farm fields

June 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM

MADRID, June 24 (UPI) -- A small rolling robot that mimics the action of a hamster ball could help farmers by patrolling fields and helping cultivate crops, its Spanish developers say.

Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid say a swinging weight controlled by electronics mimics the shifting movement of a hamster inside a ball to get their Rosphere robot rolling along rows of farms crops, the BBC reported Monday.

In experiments in farm fields, the Rosphere has demonstrated it could help monitor soil conditions on arable land.

The researchers said they chose a spherical robot because wheeled or legged robots can have difficulty negotiating shifting ground or places strewn with lots of large and small objects.

The robot is fitted a wireless communication system and it can be equipped with other sensors that could measure and return data on environmental conditions like moisture levels and temperature, the researchers said.

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