Rice farmers in Asia have always used ducks to keep their plants pest-free, acting as a healthier, natural solution to pesticides. Ducks work in rice fields by waddling around flooded areas, rooting out weeds and devouring insects. Their manure is an added bonus too, providing fertilizer for farmers. Nowadays, times are changing, and with recent technological advancements, ducks will no longer be a necessity for farmers to rely on. Their prowess could eventually be replaced by robots.
Named after the duck breed used in farming to carry out weed removal and insect consumption, the Aigamo robot weighs 1.5 kilograms, is 60 centimeters in length and is the same size as a robot vacuum cleaner. It uses Wi-Fi, batteries, solar power and a GPS system to rummage through the rice fields. The only downside of this robot is that it doesn’t have feet shaped like a duck’s to complete the effect of robot duck. Instead, it uses two rotating rubber brushes underneath its body, which are used to oxygenate the water by stirring it up, effectively preventing weeds from getting enough sunlight to root into the soil.
The adorable robot eliminates the growth of weeds in rice fields by muddying the water up. (Image Source: Nissan)
The prototype, used as an alternative to ducks in farming, was developed by Tetsuma Nakamura, an engineer of automotive Nissan Motors of Japan. His intention was to develop a robot for his friend. The engineer is in the process of carrying out tests for his robot in the Yamagata Prefecture in northeastern Japan. It looks like it’s only a DIY project at the present time, but there are also no plans to expand on the project by making it available to the public via commercialization and there isn’t much information on just how effective the robot is when it comes to de-weeding rice fields.
You can watch the robot navigate through the rice paddies in the video below. There aren’t any English subtitles available, though, but it’s still a fun watch.
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