Traditionally, ducks have been used on Japanese paddy fields to support plant growth. Because the animals brought three advantages. First, they ate unwanted insects. In addition, their excretions served as a kind of natural fertilizer. Most importantly, they used their feet to whip up dirt so unwanted plants would not get enough sunlight to develop beneath the surface of the water. Meanwhile, the use of ducks in Japan is no longer widespread. However, a Nissan engineer has now developed a technical solution that follows a similar approach. The little robot therefore also bears the name Aigamo – which can be translated roughly as a duck.
So far only one prototype exists
During use, the device is somewhat reminiscent of a worn-out vacuum cleaner robot. Using the GPS signal and a Wi-Fi connection, the artificial duck navigates autonomously through the rice fields. The energy required for this is gained through a solar module. The trick is that there are two small rotating rollers on the bottom of the robot. These ensure on the one hand for the drive of the artificial duck. On the other hand, they also whirl up the water, whereby the desired effect is achieved and no weeds can establish more. However, only a first prototype of the Aigamo robot still exists. This was developed by Tetsuma Nakamura to help a friendly rice farmer. This became known because Nakamura is also employed as an engineer at Nissan.
The Japanese rice farmers hardly find any more workers
The Group has not yet indicated that it wants to market the paddy field robot itself. He supports the idea of the employee but massively and has also posted a video of the invention on Youtube. But the main focus was on the Japanese public. Because the picture and sound material is not provided with English subtitles. Basically there is a need for helpful robots in Japanese rice farmers. Because the population of the country is getting older, so it is increasingly difficult to win people for the cultivation of rice. It does not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this issue: even farmers in Europe are struggling with similar problems with strawberries and asparagus. Therefore, robots have already been developed here, which are to take over part of the work. For example, the economizer for asparagus and a development of the University of Essex for strawberries .
Via: The Verge