A sloth-inspired robot, suitable for precision agriculture, moves only when it’s necessary

While most robotics companies are focused on developing faster and more powerful robots, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology created a different solution. Their sloth-inspired innovation, called SlothBot, is made from 3D-printed parts and powered by two solar panels. The SlothBot, which is an ideal solution for precision agriculture and environmental monitoring, can reside in the field for months, and it moves only when necessary.

Inspiration for the design was taken from the sloth’s lifestyle. Sloths are slow-moving mammals that live in the jungles in South and Central America, and they spend most of their lives in trees, where they rest up to 22 hours a day. Just like sloths move from one tree branch to another, the SlothBot uses a wire-switching mechanism to move through a network of cables. This is achieved thanks to the robot’s battery-powered wheels.

Why are roboticists taking inspiration from animals?

Animals have always been a source of inspiration for engineers and designers. Roboticists are particularly fond of drawing inspiration from animal characteristics and abilities and adding them to their innovations. For instance, robotics companies are creating solutions that move the same way as animals, which makes them suitable for complex environments.