Slothbot’s Slow and Deliberate Pace For Environmental Monitoring
A robotic monitor that is slow and an energy miser can be far superior to one that is fast and an energy guzzler for many applications, including environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, infrastructure maintenance, and a slew of security applications.
That’s where “SlothBot,” the brainchild of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, comes in handy. It is powered by two photovoltaic panels and designed to linger in the forest canopy for months measuring environmental changes and move only when it must, writes Stephen Mraz of Machine Design.
“In robotics, it seems some are always pushing for faster, more agile, and more extreme robots,” says Magnus Egerstedt, an engineering professor and principal investigator for SlothBot. “But there are many applications where there is no need to be fast. You just have to be out there persistently over long periods of time, observing what’s going on.”
Based on what Egerstedt called the “theory of slowness,” grad students Gennaro Notomista and Yousel Emam built SlothBot using 3D-printed parts for the gearing and wire-switching mechanisms needed to crawl through a network of wires in the trees.