Dog poop is a blight upon city streets and parks, however researchers recently unveiled a new breed of robot capable of picking up the offensive little landmines before they find someone’s shoe. Designed by the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab, the POOP SCOOP (Perception Of Offensive Products and Sensorized Control Of Object Pickup) robot is amazingly accurate – it’s capable of finding and removing 95% of the offensive droppings at a rate of one poop per minute.
The robot uses visual sensory cues to scan the area around it and find feculence. The color cameras only senses “high fiber” objects dubbed POOPs (Potentially Offensive Objects for Pickup), and when a pile is successfully identified it uses a store-bought scooper to secure the dropping. If the robot is unsuccessful in placing the poop in a bucket, it will attempt again.
The $400,000 PR2 robot is a versatile existing design that was programmed to fulfill its current duties. The project is noteworthy for robot’s ability to sense its environment and manipulate it on its own. While the high-tech pooper scooper does not come cheap, it does break new ground in the realm of automated environmental stewardship.