A team at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain has designed and developed a rolling spherical robot that could be used in a wide range of outdoor applications – including farming. The Robotics and Cybernetics Research Group believes that their Rosphere robot could carry out tasks more efficiently than current robots that are designed to work on uneven and rural land.
Looking somewhat like a high-tech hamster ball, the Rosphere uses a mechanical joint powered by electronic instruments to induce motion in a controlled manner. “A significant part of time spent on this research was related to the “mechatronic” development of the robot,” the team said. “This includes all the aspects that involve its mechanics and control electronics, communications and programming by generating two versions which were proved on evolutions of the pendulum and its drive system. ”
Their interior mechanism allows the robot to travel in two independent directions – straight movement and curvilinear motion (similar to the way a car turns). Since the robot can travel over practically any terrain, it could potentially gather information in crop fields to monitor precision farming techniques.