Disney Research labs has unveiled the Beachbot – a turtle-shaped robot that uses a retractable rake and a bevy on onboard sensors to draw elaborate lines and designs on sandy surfaces.
As a prototype, the Beachbot still has a few kinks that need to be worked out, but its creators at the Disney Research Labs say that it will soon be able to carry out enormous designs that span across an entire beach.
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For now, Beachbot can only create designs within a 10 x 10-meter square parameter, which needs to be marked by four poles with reflective material on them. With its onboard laser scanner, Beachbot will detect the poles and uses them to determine the borders of its drawing area.
Because it’s retractable, Beachbot’s rake can create multiple lines, not just one continuous line, Discovery News reported. It can also be extended tine by tine to create lines that vary in thickness, from five centimeters to 40 centimeters wide.
The images released of the turtle-shaped robot’s creations show almost no trace of the robot’s three wheels alongside its rake patterns.
The Beachbot was developed by a partnership between the Zurich labs of Disney Research alongside a team of students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich).
In addition to Beachbot, the team had come up with software that could take an image and transform it into a motion path that Beachbot could make.
Beachbot’s cute turtle design was designed for functional pu4rpose: it’s completely sealed to stop any sand from getting into its inner workings.
The robot will be deployed at a public beach to amaze beachgoers who pass by,” the research team said in a press release. “Not only the final picture is important, the whole drawing process will provide an exceptional, magical show.”