ROSPHERE Robot Rolls Like a Hamster Ball and Measures Soil Conditions for Farmers (Video)

First Posted: Jun 25, 2013 03:18 PM EDT

You'd think that the plastic ball that hamsters use to roll around in wouldn't be applicable to robotics. In this case, though, it is. Scientists have created a ball that uses the same method as hamsters to roll around, and could be used to measure the soil conditions on arable land.

The new robot looks quite a bit like a hamster ball. Large and purple, it possesses an interior weight that swings forward to propel it across rough terrain. While wheeled and legged robots struggle on shifting ground or places strewn with lots of large and small objects, this new spherical robot easily moves over rough terrain, according to BBC News.

That's not to say that all legged robots are unable to tackle tough terrain. Scientists recently designed a robot after a lizard that can handle moving over sandy areas. Yet this new rolling robot may outcompete it.

Known as ROSPHERE, this new robot doesn't just move forward. It can also turn and move backward. Developed by the Cybernetics Research Group of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid, the creation can actually be controlled with an iPhone as it moves across the ground, according to RedOrbit.

While the robot is interesting in and of itself, the plans for it are even more fascinating. Scientists hope to outfit the creation with cameras and other sensors that can monitor environmental conditions such as moisture levels and temperature. In theory, farmers could send the rolling robot into a field in order to tell when the best time is to water or tend their crops. The new robot could give farmers a new way to care for their fields, and could result in time saving strategies that could increase production in the future.

Want to see ROSPHERE in action? Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

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