The Tiny Farmer Robot That Wants to Return Vegetation To Desert Areas

Climate change threatens to turn areas with dry climates into inhospitable deserts. In Spain, regions such as Almería, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, or even Madrid could reach extreme levels of aridity in about 80 years if the climatic trend is not reversed. Fighting this catastrophe requires the collaboration of everyone, even the help that a robot no more than 20 cm long can provide.

Moving with some difficulty through the dry and sandy terrain, A’seedbot analyzes the humidity of the area to find the best point in which to deposit a group of seeds in the hope that in the future a silver will serve as protection for the soil and Reduce the advance of desertification that many regions of the Earth are heading towards.

It seems like a colossal mission for such a small robot, some media have compared it to Wall-e, Pixar’s mechanical hero. Its creator is Mazyar Etihad, a graduate student who has designed A’seedbot as a graduation work for the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation.

The Farmer Robot

“Desertification is a huge problem around the world caused by unsustainable agricultural practices, mining, climate change, and excessive land use in general,” Etihad explains on his Instagram profile. Deserts as famous as the Sahara could have been great orchards of vegetation until human livestock and agriculture sterilized the land over the centuries.

Repopulating these desert areas can be difficult, but this could be the help needed by other regions that run the risk of becoming sand-only places over time. There this small farmer is not only capable of distributing the seeds where they have the best chance of taking root, but he also contributes to studying the conditions of the land.

“The robot is equipped with solar panels to charge during the day and navigate the terrain at night,” explains its inventor. The solar panels feed energy to the different sensors, its wireless communication system, and the mechanism of legs with which it moves through the parched land.

Etihad seems to have been inspired by the anatomy of sea walruses to design the 3D printed legs and body of this little machine. The fins rotate to propel the robot forward, being a terrain that tends to have a lot of sand, this mechanism prevents the device from getting stuck like cars with wheels on the beach. In addition, it serves to remove the sand a little, revealing the humidity that the device is looking for.

In this small video, Mazyar Etehadi shows one of his initial prototypes that evolved into the model that the student presented at the Global Grad Show where he found hundreds of other projects inspired by the preservation of the planet, as reflected by CNN in an article.

The little A’seedbot is part of other technologies that are also being used to repopulate land, drones, for example, are being used in Spain to spread seeds at high speed with which to promote the growth of vegetation in those areas that have suffered fires. However, this little robot includes the possibility of targeting with more precision the right area for planting to be successful where the terrain is not very conducive.

Its Technology

The solar panels recharge the robot’s battery during the day, giving it a range of five kilometers to locate the most fertile areas. It works when the sun goes down to more easily detect where the humidity would allow the plant to live, although during the day it must withstand high temperatures and sun exposure.

The humidity sensor signals that favorable point to eject a few seeds. At the same time, the robot sends the collected data to the owner, providing a study of the terrain and its conditions that can be of help to authorities and organizations. This small sensor is located in one of your eyes, while in the other it has a prevention system to avoid colliding with objects that use a detector with which it recognizes the distance of the objects.

With this equipment, A’seedbot can work autonomously without almost supervision on a terrain where the ground needs to be covered with vegetation to protect it from the sun’s rays. Mazyar Etihad is now working on an improved model of this little farming robot that can move through different terrains that do not have only sand.

In addition, this recent graduate is looking for investors to further the development of A’seedbot and contribute their bit in the fight against climate change that is already causing havoc around the world.

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