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A robot to tell you how deserts are formed

Posted on Feb 07 2014 | IANS

Jerusalem, Feb 7 : Imagine a robot that can let you know what exactly goes in transforming fertile land into desert?

There is one.

An Israel-based industrial designer here has invented a robot that can help scientists study what causes desertification.

Desertification is when fertile land transforms into desert owing to drought, deforestation and unsuitable agriculture.

The 'Tumbleweed Robot' is a wind-powered, round device that is meant to collect information about the land it covers to transmit back to its home base.

What makes the 'Tumbleweed Robot' promising is that it can overcome more obstacles by changing shape or routes as well as avoiding heat stroke.

"We don't know much about how deserts spread and how dunes move. We need more information in order to develop algorithms to predict where the next problems will be - and how it's possible to fix them," industrial designer Shlomi Mir, who designed the robot, was quoted as saying in media reports.

The 'Tumbleweed Robot' hopes to thwart the threat of climate change and its effects on barren landscapes such as deserts.

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