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Robot Swings Its Way to Unexplored Treetops

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The robot Avocado maneuvers around branches in the treetops.

The robot is tethered by a cable to one of the top branches of a tree and is lowered from there into the tree’s crown.

Credit: Emanuele Aucone

Researchers led by Steffen Kirchgeorg at Switzerland's ETH Zurich developed a robot that can descend from a height and swing around obstacles, with the goal of one day autonomously navigating hard-to-reach habitats in the rainforest canopy.

The robot, named Avocado for its shape, can be connected to a tree's top branches via cable and then lowered to gain access to the canopy for data collection.

Eventually, it could be transported to the tethering point via drone.

The robot features an integrated camera, has the ability to carry various sensors and other instruments, and only uses battery power when it needs to move.

From Swiss National Science Foundation
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