According to an Engineer at Nissan, the Future of Rice Farming Is a Robotic Duck
This cute robot might help Japanese farmers maintain flooded rice fields and keep weeds out.
Farmers in Japan have used ducks to help them grow rice in their paddy fields for centuries. The friendly farm animals paddle around in flooded fields eating insects and oxygenating the water that helps stops weeds from taking hold.
Their manure even helps to fertilize the fields. As the commercialization of rice production took hold, ducks were replaced by pesticides and other chemicals.
But an engineer at Nissan wants to return ducks to the fields; though in a very futuristic way.
Meet the Aigamo robot, a floating moving robot that is designed to help farmers keep their paddy fields insect free and weed free without chemicals.
Named after the breed of ducks who formerly had the job, the cute self-propelled robot might be the future of rice farming. Weighing 1.5 kilograms the robot has two rotating rubber brushes instead of duck feet to stir up the water and stop weeds growing.
Check out this video to see Aigamo in action.
Rice production is under threat in Japan as demand for the staple food has dropped and farming knowledge is not being passed through the generations, due to a rapidly aging population.
For now, this seems to be a passion project by one engineer, but it is a fascinating look at how small robots could become ubiquitous technology in the farming industry of the future.