An engineer working for Japanese carmaker Nissan has built a robot to help farmers reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides on their rice crops. The compact robot, called Aigamo, is designed to mimic the natural use of ducks that paddle around in flooded paddy fields.
Ducks have been used as natural weed repellents for centuries to tear them up and feed on insects, with their manure even acting as an additional fertilizer.
Skepticism about the outcomes of pesticide use has grown over time in the country. High costs for chemical products as well as the negative effects they have on the environment have prompted manufacturers to come up with other methods.
The Aigamo robot prototype, named after the ducks of the same name, is being tested right now in the Yamagata Prefecture in northeastern Japan. It weighs 3.3 lbs (1.5 kilograms) and is about the size of a large robot vacuum cleaner.
Using two rotating rubber brushes on its underside which take the place of a duck’s feet, it oxygenates the water by stirring it up and preventing weeds from taking root.
Read full, original article: RoboDUCK built by Nissan engineer could be used in Japan to keep rice paddy fields free from pests and weeds