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Environmental developments by robotics

Published by under Articles,Environment Sciences,Robotics categories on April 18, 2011

Robot fish grey with blue spotsRobotics are a field which does not immediately leap to mind when thinking about the environment. If science-fiction is to be believed, robots have a grim future that will probably not be all that green. Recent developments, however, suggest that robotics can indeed play a part in saving the environment, as these examples demonstrate. By Britney Baker.

1. Chico Mendes

This robot was designed to monitor the Ph balance and oxygen levels of water in the Amazon rainforest. The goal is to detect any environmental risks, specifically those involving petroleum and gas. This robot operates completely on solar power at an engine efficiency level of 90%. This robot is able to navigate swamps, mud, and water, as well as dry land in order to provide readings from various terrain.

2. Farming Robots

Development of robots which mechanize farming is underway. Experimentation has been done with greenhouse robots. The premise is to create a system which takes many variables into account and cares for the plants in accordance to this. The robot itself is comprised of a robotic arm and a water pump. It communicates with electronics attached to the plant and soil sensors. Based on the sensors, the robot arm provides the plants with the idea amount of water and nutrients and tracks their growth and progress. The arm can also pick the fruit once it is produced. This technology can lead to better harvests since the plants will always be receiving the ideal combination of water and nutrients.

3. Nomadic Plants

This robot uses a microbial fuel cell to operate. The robot takes in polluted water and breaks down the pollution to produce energy which powers the robot. The excess energy is used to sustain plants which are planted on its back. The robot reduces pollution in the environment and transforms it into a useful energy source which can aid plant growth.

4. Robotic Fish

The purpose of this robot is to detect areas of dangerous pollution in water. It can detect the pollution, and then sends out a Wi-Fi communication to inform the scientists. The fish operates independently and is programmed to return to its charging station every eight hours to be recharged. This robot was designed in the form of a fish because its design has been proven as extremely energy efficient by evolution. It is much more energy efficient than the submarine shaped submersible robots of the past.

5. Yuki-Taro

Yuki-taro uses a pair of video cameras and a GPS to navigate. Its purpose is to compress snow on sidewalks into ice blocks. These ice blocks can be stored until summer when they can be used as a refrigeration or cooling source.


The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot is designed to embark on unmanned military missions. It can create food from organic material such as grass or wood. 150 pounds of organic material can fuel EATR for 100 miles. EATR cannot use meat as a source of organic biomass.

By Britney Baker. (1)

Editor’s note:

Given the recent disaster of Fukushima, robots would play a key role in investigating, controlling and cleaning up after the nuclear plant disaster, improving therefore the response, and preserving natural spaces and people from exposure to radiation.

(1) Ms. Baker develops freelance writing activities as reviewing at


  1. Mario Enrique says on April 26th, 2011 at 05:45

    Peace and Happyness to everybody!!! National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a great and whole variety of electronics transducers (Detectors and system detectors) working 24 hours arround the world monitoring constantly our planet. It will be very usefull than robotics fishes and many others robots designed, involving in field environment operations may be linked via internet (like flicker yahoo sub system) in order to transmit and retransmit this kind of data, so that, it can be stored for future proficiency and enreachment about our knowlegment of nature and parameters which determines the behavor of biotics and abiotics micro and macro ecosystems in a global way for mankind and life benefits.

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