Survey robot operated by smartphone

A team headed by Waseda University Prof. Atsuo Takanishi announced it has developed a six-wheeled survey robot that can be controlled with an ordinary smartphone.

The team said its robot, made for environmental survey work, does not need an independent communication network because it uses the Internet via a smartphone for its data processing and remote control. The team expects the robot could be used to measure radiation levels by moving around schoolyards and forests, repelling vermin that might interfere with it.

The robot has a 36-centimetre-long, box-shaped body and three oval wheels on each side. Its axles placed off-centre in wheels to allow it to climb an obstacle up to 18 centimetres high.

The robot is solar-powered. Besides the camera and GPS on its smartphone, the robot can be equipped with other devices as needed, such as sensors to detect radiation and particulate matter, including PM2.5. It can also carry a device to ultrasonically repel animals. A venture company in Fukuoka Prefecture will manufacture and market the robot. It will be priced at about ¥500,000 (S$6,500), with the price varying according to the devices to be installed in it. Sales are expected to begin after autumn 2014.