During our brainstorming session at miLKlabs (Limerick's new maker-space) last week we listened, in thrall, to new member Niall Dempsey as he told us about the robot he had built to help on his farm in Roscrea.
FarmBot (the sheep herding robot) was initially inspired when Niall needed some assistance with herding sheep but didn't have enough work for a trained sheep dog. As the idea developed other uses sprang to mind and it has since become a multi-function robot.
Farmbot is basically a small (2 ft x 3 ft x 2 ft high approx.), four wheel, electrically power vehicle that is currently controlled remotely. It contains a video camera with night vision and transmitter. A video receiver connected to a TV, PC or a small portable screen enables the robot to be controlled from the comfort of an armchair while the the robot goes about its business at a range of up to 300 meters.
Currently it can herd sheep, observe livestock, mow the lawn, spray weeds, rake gravel, carry light loads, pull a small trailer, act as a security guard and entertain children (and grown ups). Niall's long term aim is to be able to control FarmBot over the internet given it a world wide range.
Check out www.clikire.snappages.com for some details of FarmBot version 1.