SOMIRO – Soft Milli-robots

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SOMIRO – Soft Milli-robots

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The SOMIRO project will develop and demonstrate the world’s first energy-autonomous swimming milli-robot with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of farming in terms of carbon footprint, eutrophication and excessive use of pesticides and feed. The goal is to be able to use the technology for environmental analyses of crops grown in water such as rice, or various types of liquid-based animal husbandry such as in aquaponic farms. In these contexts, the milli-robot will be able to measure chemical concentrations and map the carbon footprint, eutrophication, and presence of pesticides and feed.

The swimming milli-robots would cover a larger area than stationary systems and could be rapidly deployed and self-redistribute where most needed. They may serve as a stand-alone monitoring solution for indoor farming or complement drone-based remote sensing outdoors. The project aims to answer the need for energy autonomous milli-robots that are capable of withstanding hours of continuous operation. No autonomous systems of this kind have been constructed to date given the power limitations: locomotion requires significant amount of power and small robots have very limited energy storage and uptake. The goal is for the SOMIRO millirobots to reach sizes as small as 10 mm long, building on the benefits of soft and stretchable systems which require much less energy for movement than other robots of comparable size. They also will not rely on any dedicated energy infrastructure but only on natural sunlight. As part of knowledge transfer and dissemination efforts, the project partners are organizing a training programme addressed to young researchers and participants in other EU funded projects, planned for October 2023.

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Types of carbon farming measures

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The project aims to develop the first energy-autonomous swimming milli-robot which allows for the reduction of environmental impacts of farming in terms of carbon footprint, eutrophication and excessive use of pesticides and feed for crops grown in water.

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