Six-arm robot pollinates greenhouses

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To address the issue of endangered pollinators, particularly bees and certain types of moths, butterflies, and flies, researchers from West Virginia University developed a precision pollination robot named Stickbug.

According to the study, Stickbug is a six-armed, multi-agent, precision pollination robot that combines the accuracy of single-agent systems with swarm parallelization in greenhouses. Each of the bot’s arms functions independently to reduce the complexities in planning and increase the effectiveness of the tasks at hand.

Stickbug has been specially designed for greenhouse environments. Its ambition is to navigate narrow rows easily by employing a compact holonomic Kiwi drive. It is also equipped with a detection model and classifier that identifies targeted flowers for contact-based pollination using a felt-tipped end-effector.

The robot’s design proposes a promising solution to offset the effects of declining natural pollinators, potentially safeguarding food security worldwide.


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