Editorial Feature

How Can Climate Robots Help Fight Global Warming?

To address the climate crisis, a full understanding of the processes that affect global warming must be gained. Determining the areas where change can be brought about and how realistic solutions are must also be taken into account.

How Can Climate Robots Help Fight Global Warming?

Image Credit:iurii/Shutterstock.com

It has been suggested that these goals are too ambitious to be carried out by humans alone; technology must be utilized to achieve such milestones.

Robotic technologies are a key component of industry 4.0., taking hold in almost all facets of science and business. Now, climate robots are being called forth to help fight climate change.

Creating Robots That Can Live and Procure Data in Natural Habitats

Taking inspiration from living organisms, robotic scientists are creating robots that can live and procure data in natural habitats. Swiss robotic scientist Auke Ijspeert and his team from the Biorobotics Laboratory have built a sinuous robot called the Envirobot. Using movements inspired by lampreys and eels, the Envirobot detects water pollution, collects water samples, and finally creates a map of pollution. Such information will help reveal the effect of global warming on water supplies and allow scientists to advise policy makers.

In other areas, robotic jellyfishes have been designed to collect data form the ocean to help understand climate change and robotic plants have been developed with a mini 3D printer to help roots to grow, allowing researchers to study plant soil.

Ocean One from Stanford Robotics Lab

Taking inspiration from living organisms, robotic scientists are creating climate robots that can live and procure data in natural habitats. Swiss robotic scientist Auke Ijspeert and his team from the Biorobotics Laboratory have built a sinuous robot called the Envirobot.

Using movements inspired by lampreys and eels, the Envirobot detects water pollution, collects water samples, and finally creates a map of pollution. Such information will help reveal the effect of global warming on water supplies and allow scientists to advise policymakers.

In other areas, robotic jellyfish have been designed to collect data from the ocean to help understand climate change, and robotic plants have been developed with a mini 3D printer to help roots to grow, allowing researchers to study plant soil.

At Stanford Robotics Lab, a humanoid robot has been developed to explore the ocean and also collect samples for research and analysis. ‘Ocean One’ has been used to study deep coral reefs had has helped reveal how global warming has affected the ocean ecosystem at significant depths.

The row-bot that feeds on pollution | Jonathan Rossiter | TEDxWarwick

Video Credit: TEDx Talks/YouTube.com

Numerous climate robots are used when large and diverse data collections are required, such as swarm robots which significantly reduce the cost and time spent. Most of these climate robots are also designed with in-built panels for harvesting solar and tidal energy to meet their energy requirements.

Drones have become extremely prevalent in recent times and have become a major tool in the fight against climate change. Drones assist in scientific data collection and have been used to fight dwindling bee populations, reduce carbon emissions, track wildlife populations and activities, gather water and air samples, and monitor deforestation, tree health and agricultural expansion.

Drones are also used in nature conservation to combat wildlife crime, especially in remote and inaccessible areas. For example, environmental systems researcher Lian Pin Koh uses his drones to track orangutan nests and monitor the species population in remote parts of Indonesian rainforest.

Measures and approaches such as seed distribution for planting trees, clean energy industry implementation, eating pollution from water, removal of river trash and removal of invasive species are all carried out with the help of climate robots to protect species and our environment. Robotic technology has become indispensable in the battle against global warming.

References and Further Reading

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/05/the-surprising-way-drones-can-help-fight-climate-change

https://ideas.ted.com/this-amazing-robot-swims-like-an-eel-and-detects-pollution/

https://blog.ted.com/conservation-drones-in-the-field-lian-pin-koh-at-tedglobal-2013/

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Dr. Ramya Dwivedi

Written by

Dr. Ramya Dwivedi

Ramya has a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the National Chemical Laboratories (CSIR-NCL), in Pune. Her work consisted of functionalizing nanoparticles with different molecules of biological interest, studying the reaction system and establishing useful applications.

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