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Robot “Swims” Through Grain
For farmers taking moisture and temperature readings in their bins or stored grain piles, Crover Grain Storage Monitoring has a family of drone bots capable of “swimming” through bulk solids and powders.
    While Lorenzo Conti was completing his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, he discovered a concept that allows a moving object to work its way through grain and other granular products.
“I realized this discovery could be used to move objects below the surface of bulk solids and powders, like grain,” says Conti. “We then went through the lengthy process of figuring out what a robot like that would look like in practice.”
    The resulting bot uses rotation and friction to create a flow of granular particles which in turn generates a pressure differential from one side to the other, driving and steering an object through grain.
    Currently, the bot uses onboard sensors to measure temperature and moisture levels in grain piles, although the company is working on adding other readings in the future.
    An operator can drive the robot to specific locations using a remote controller, or in a soon-to-be-released version, the bot will automatically “swim” to pre-programmed locations.
    An internet connection isn’t required, although if present, it can automatically send data readings to the cloud for later access through the companion app. If out of internet range, reports can be downloaded from the robot and used as is or uploaded to the web app later.
    The robots are assembled in the UK The newer version will soon be available in both the UK and the EU. Work continues to transition them to Australia and North America.
    “We’d be happy to hear from organizations looking to pilot it in North America and have the budget to fund a pilot project there,” Conti says.
    Conti is offering various robot packages beginning at £5,000 or roughly $6,125 USD per year.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lorenzo Conti, The National Robotarium, Boundary Road North, Third Gait, Edinburgh, Scotland EH14 4AS (info@crover.tech; www.crover.tech).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4