Although robotic jockeys for camel racing have been successfully deployed for several years now, some have voiced concerns about them – for many of the bots are configured to cane the competing camels. (Hi-res photographic example here – the Swiss-made KMEL -manufactured by the K-Team Corporation – note the robotic whipping mechanism). Now a new and potentially less harmful camel jockey-bot has been unveiled. It has been developed by researcher and inventor Mohamed Shakir, who is based at the Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University. The bot still brandishes a whip, but it’s used only to provide a ‘whip-crack’ sound above the camel (rather than actually thrashing its ‘sensitive areas’). At the same time it also relays crucial voice commands to the animal via a dedicated radio-link, amplifier and a set of speakers. The commands are remotely provided in real-time by the camel’s trainer – who rides alongside the racetrack in the comfort of an SUV. A photo of the new camel jockey-bot is available here, courtesy qatarqlick.com (Thanks to the Gulf Times for alerting us to the new developments.)
Notes: The impetus for camel-jockey-bot development came in 2002, when the United Arab Emirates prohibited the use of child camel-jockeys (under 15 years of age). Qatar followed suit with similar legislation in 2005.
BONUS: Explore the extensive camel racing facilities at As-Sahhaniyah, (a.k.a. Al Shahaniyah) Qatar, via satellite imagery courtesy Google maps.
PLUS, DO NOT MISS: Doha, Qatar, June 29, 2011, 16:30-18:00: the closing plenary of the