Farmers Could Have Teams of Tarzan Robots Swinging Around Their Fields in the Future

The king of the jungle is moving to the farm.

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Apr 11 2017, 8:39pm

By 2050 there will be nearly 10 billion people on planet Earth. This means we'll need all the help we can get to make sure people get the food they need. Mechanical engineers at Georgia Tech think they've created just such a helper: a swinging two-limbed robot named Tarzan. You can see the little metal sloth swaying around in the video above.

In order to effectively grow enough food crops, it's important for farmers to have a consistent eye on them to gauge their health. And with large fields, it's a challenge to have enough manpower to do this. So the engineers designed Tarzan to live amongst the crops permanently. It hangs upside down on a wire above a crop row with two metal arms, and uses its own weight to swing forwards or backwards along the cable, reaching out and grabbing the wire hand over hand—er, claw over claw.

Its little body houses a camera that takes pictures of the crops, which can then be sent back to a farmer in real time for assessment. The engineers hope Tarzan can even run on solar power in the future, and not have to rely on rechargeable batteries like it does now.

Agricultural tech is already brimming with other robotic farming schemes, but unfortunately whenever a robot is employed, it's likely some degree of human labor is supplanted.

In the video, however, creator and mechanical engineer Jonathan Rogers asserts that "The only way we can really achieve the level of food production we're going to need in the future is to employ automation and robots."

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