Il graduation project di Mazyar Etehadi, a talented student of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, has something poetic to say.
A'seedbot, this is its name, is the concept of a small robot that plants seeds in the desert. A Jean Giono in plastic and iron, a Wall-E from a parallel world. A'seedbot wants to convert the unusable sandy desert soil into a verdant landscape. One seed at a time. And he wants to do this by drawing energy from the solar panels on his back (and moving around in the day, I guess).
A'seedbot: take a desert and make a garden of it
I fly over the symbolic value of such a concept (Pixar should think about it). A'seedbot can have many reading levels: a robot that starts every morning with its propeller "legs" while planting seeds in soft sand is all. It is a dream, it is research. It is also a challenge to the future. And test platform.
"The robot is equipped with solar panels to recharge during the day and proceed on the desert at night, to identify fertile areas, report on them and plant seeds based on the data recovered from its sensors and the navigation system, ”says Mazyar.
Look for the best place, it makes it even better
Palladio teaches: "form follows function". For A'seedbot this principle is true. The longitudinal design of the 'desert gardener' robot can be separated into 3 parts, each with a task: "Seeing", "Navigating" and "Planting".
Two ultrasonic sensors on the front allow the robot to assess the terrain in front, while a moving head allows it to look in various directions to choose the right path.
Once decided, the "paws" help A'seedbot push forward and even change direction. It looks like a little white seal: an arctic seal on the desert (too much poetry, enough).
How many would you need?
Hard to say: its design is at a truly embryonic stage. But it has its own reason: an internal processing unit helps the robot to understand the best places to plant in the desert and periodically monitor the seeds. The solar panels on the top help the robot feel the impact of the sun, while also supplying it with energy, which is stored in the internal battery.
Could an army of these contraptions help the cause of the Great Green Wall? We will see in the future: it would be nice if the desert gradually became a small exception in the middle of the oasis, and not vice versa.