Over 7 billion people live on Earth, which means feeding our growing population will require us to produce food more efficiently than we are now. Could Robots could help us ramp up food production? Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) scientists believe so. They designed Tarzan, a robot inspired by swinging sloths, that could help future farmers more effectively monitor their crops. Take a look at the video below to see Tarzan in action.

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Tarzan is a two-armed robot that would hang suspended above a field on a wire, and move back and forth by swinging – like the mammal infamous for being lazy. But robot Tarzan is anything but lazy; it could snap images of plants and send them back to the farmer so either a human or an algorithm could analyze crop growth. Georgia Tech mechanical engineering assistant professor Jonathan Rogers said in a video, “What that’s going to allow people to do is essentially have an automated way to analyze how their crops are doing and what their crops need in real time, and maybe even providing that to their crops without them having to go walk the field themselves.”

Related: World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year

Georgia Tech researchers will take Tarzan to the field this summer at a four acre test field growing soybeans near Athens, Georgia. Plant geneticists from the University of Georgia used to have to walk the fields taking notes on crop growth there in the hot July sun, but Tarzan could help them analyze the crops more efficiently.

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According to the university, “With Georgia Tech robots dangling over the field, UGA researchers will be able to get more frequent measurements and to avoid some laborious field work. Someday, they may be able to stay at their laptops miles away, in the air conditioning, scanning a steady stream of images and data sent back from the robots.”

As sloths are energy efficient, the team is working on making their robot sloth energy efficient and envision it powered by the sun one day.

Via Georgia Tech and Wired

Images via Georgia Tech and Eric Kilby on Flickr