Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Robots with natural movement that milk cows

10.03.2003


Scottish company IceRobotics will develop a new generation of dairy farm robots, working in a way that is similar to an elephant’s trunk, that can milk cows without the presence of the farmer, thanks to an Invention & Innovation award of £98,000 from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts), the organisation that invests in UK creativity and innovation.



While studying for his PhD, Dr Bruce Davies, a senior lecturer at Heriot-Watt University, came up with the idea for a new breed of robots capable of ’biomimetic locomotion’: machines that move using the same patterns that are found in nature. To respond to opportunities to exploit his invention in dairy automation, Bruce set up Edinburgh-based IceRobotics with Robert Boyce who is trained in business administration and has direct experience in technology enterprise development and Dr Andrew Peacock, who has a background in artificial intelligence and sensor system technologies.

New research is showing that better milk yields can be obtained from cows if they can be milked more regularly at times of their own choosing, with one of the best times being between 11pm and 3am just before the cow settles down to sleep. This is consistent with the milking patterns of a calf but impractical in terms of traditional dairy farming based on herding cows to be milked twice a day. The alternative is the proposed Biomimetic robotic milking system technology of IceRobotics, operating 24 hours a day. Technology of this kind could result in a 10% to 20% increase in milk yield in over 200,000 medium sized diary farms across the Europe and offer improved hygiene and health for the herd. The technology also has the potential to be applied to milking goats and sheep.


IceRobotics will develop new generation biomimetic robot technology by mimicking the mechanical and sensory systems found in biology. This will provide greater dexterity and improved safety and hygiene compared to current robot technology. Their design incorporates three bellows that are placed in parallel in a triangular arrangement that produces movement by changing position as the pressure inside it is changed, working in a way that is similar to an elephant’s trunk. By using different pressures in each bellow a range of bending movements can be produced that are precise and can be applied to handle delicate objects.

Through mimicking the motion and dexterity found in nature, this biomimetic technology offers the potential to greatly extend the current boundaries of the robotics sector not only in dairy farming but also in many other sectors. NESTA is proud to be able to be supporting a cutting edge project that could radically alter how and in what environments robots are used.

Widening its search for investment, IceRobotics has been selected by Connect Scotland to present at its Springboard conference in Glasgow on 11 March 2003. Springboard is recognised as Scotland’s leading investment showcase for pre-start and start-up technology companies and attracts a large number of investors, business angels and venture capitalists. NESTA is also lending its support as a new sponsor of Springboard.

Jeremy Newton, NESTA Chief Executive, said:

"This award to IceRobotics is living proof that NESTA is uncovering innovative ideas from all corners of the UK and offering them the chance to thrive. The idea could be an excellent investment for NESTA and the UK as a whole."

Joseph Meaney | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nesta.org.uk

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>