When Georgia Tech researchers looked at how they could impact the future of farming in 2017, they turned to the jungle for inspiration. Meet Tarzan, the robot sloth that could change the face of agriculture. Watch out, drones—this swinging robot is here to take your job.
Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Hang Hang
Though it is named Tarzan, this robot was inspired by the sloth. The device has two long arms capped with 3D-printed claws that swing on parallel wires suspended above rows of crops. It whips itself down the wires, not unlike an actual primate in a jungle, taking photos of the plants along the way. Georgia Tech professor and team leader Jonathan Rogers said they’re trying to design Tarzan to become more energy efficient, since that could lead the way to a solar-powered version. That would save farmers a lot of time and labor refueling the robot and manning the fields themselves.
Boldly Going Where No Drone Has Gone Before
Tarzan has a serious leg up (arm up?) on the drones that currently swarm farmers’ fields. Where the drones can only provide a farsighted view of crops, Tarzan can slankily dip down into the weeds to get up-close and personal. This is important because farmers need to be able to closely monitor their fields. Tarzan has a built-in camera that can take detailed photos of measurements of each plant as the robot swoops down along its wire.