For kids (and some late-blooming teenagers), climbing trees is considered fun. For anyone over the age of fourteen – not so much. No one looks “cool” clinging to a flimsy branch for dear life as they demand passersby below to phone 9-1-1.
This robot, however, will willingly scale trees day after day because, well, it was designed to. A team at The Chinese University of Hong Kong gave Treebot one autonomous desire – to shimmy up and down trees.
Part adorable inchworm, part slinky, Treebot expands and contracts its way up trunks, using built-in touch sensors to determine where to go next. Using tactile sensors rather than cameras, it saves on power. While the bot can scale up virtually any type of tree, the team is still working on developing a sensor system that will help Treebot detect the most efficient routes.
Treebot can carry up to 3.7 pounds as it works its way around the tree, making it a great candidate for pruning hard to reach leaves.
Not only will Treebot be an excellent aid for humans in forestry efforts, it’s going to make ‘botany’ puns a whole lot more fun.