Sneaky ninja robot films wild animals
London, Feb 4 : Scientists have developed a robot that moves only when it won't be seen or heard, so that it could sneak up on animals and film them in the wild.
Although defence labs have already built robots to track people through cities, avoiding well-lit areas, it can keep a certain distance as it is unlikely to be heard due to city noise.
However, tracking and filming animals in the wild is a lot tougher because they often have keen hearing and it is quieter.
Matthew Dunbabin and his collaborator Ashley Tewes at the CSIRO Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Brisbane, Australia, are working on a four-wheeled robot to move only when intermittent sounds - like bird or frog calls - will mask its movements, New Scientist reported.
During the tests, the robot picked up the sounds of things like fork-lifts, cellphones and birds, and was able to predict whether they were likely to last long enough to cover its movement.
The robot can also identify its own noise, and guess how it will vary at different speeds and turning angles - calculating what this will sound like to a target up to 50 metres away.
With the help of a camera, laser scanner and the right algorithm, the robot can figure out which vantage points will provide the best cover so it can skulk in the shadows.