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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists develop the WomBot robot to explore the cave of the koala

Scientists develop the WomBot robot to explore the cave of the koala

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:25

According to foreign media New Atlas, in addition to being famous for its square shaped feces, koalas also unfortunately suffer from curved scabies. In order to better understand how the mites that cause scabies spread between koalas, scientists have developed a cave exploration robot.

Kangaroos are mainly nocturnal animals that sleep in the caves they dig on the ground during the day. They change caves every 4 to 10 days, usually just moving to a different cave that was previously dug by another koala. It is believed that when koalas exchange burrows in this way, the parasites that cause scabies may migrate between koalas.

Researchers from the University of Leopold and the University of Tasmania in Australia wanted to see how likely this situation was, so they developed new robots. The battery powered device called WomBot is 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) long, weighs 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), and moves at a maximum speed of 0.15 meters (0.5 feet/second) per second.

It is also equipped with temperature and humidity sensors, as well as front and rear cameras and LED lights. The real-time videos of these cameras are forwarded to the human operators above through connected Ethernet cables. In addition, the clip in front of the robot allows the data recording sensor to be placed inside the cave and subsequently retrieved.

"The study of koala burrows is challenging because they are narrow, muddy, may be several tens of meters long, and contain steep sections and sharp turns," said Dr. Robert Ross, the corresponding author of the research paper and from Leopold University. "WomBot allows us to enter and explore these caves without destroying them or using expensive ground penetrating radar. This can help us better understand the environmental conditions inside the caves, which may promote the spread of curved scabies."

In September 2020, the robot was used to explore 30 koala caves in Tasmania. It was found that the average temperature inside these caves was 15 º C (59 º F), while the average relative humidity was 85%. According to previous studies, mites grow at approximately 10 º C (50 º F) and 75% to 95% relative humidity, which are similar to the conditions inside caves.

Based on these data, scientists now believe that female scabies mites can survive for 9 to 10 days at the entrance of caves, or 16 to 18 days inside caves, and spread from one resident of a koala to the next.

Ross said, "Our research findings suggest that the environmental conditions inside the koala cave may promote the spread of scabies by promoting the survival of mites. WomBot may be used to help reduce the spread of curved scabies by providing insecticides or ensuring that the cave is empty before temporary heating to eliminate mites."

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