Georgia Tech SlothBot Robotic Sloth
Georgia Tech researchers have deployed a hyper-efficient SlothBot at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This robotic sloth is powered by pair of photovoltaic panels and designed to hang in the forest canopy continuously for months. It only moves when it must to measure environmental changes, like weather, animal movement and chemical factors. Read more for a video and additional information.

Many 3D-printed parts were created for the gearing and wire-switching mechanisms that are required for it to crawl through a network of wires in the trees. However, the biggest obstacle of all was having this wire-crawling robot switch from one cable to another without falling. Technically speaking, SlothBot is comprised of two bodies connected by an actuated hinge. Each of these bodies has a driving motor connected to a rim on which a tire is mounted.

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There is a lot we don’t know about what actually happens under dense tree-covered areas. Most of the time SlothBot will be just hanging out there, and every now and then it will move into a sunny spot to recharge the battery. If you are doing things like environmental monitoring, you want to be out in the forest for months. That changes the way you think about control systems at a high level,” said said Magnus Egerstedt, the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and principal investigator for Slothbot.

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