Where All the Flowers Have Gone, Maybe

An old song may have a new answer. The song is Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” The answer, maybe, is suggested by the new study:

Dandelion-Picking Legged Robot,” Sandilya Sai Garimella and Shai Revzen, arXiv:2112.05383, 2021. (Thanks to Mason Porter for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Michigan, report:

“Agriculture is currently undergoing a robotics revolution, but robots using wheeled or treads suffer from known disadvantages: they are unable to move over rubble and steep or loose ground, and they trample continuous strips of land thereby reducing the viable crop area…. We propose the use of multilegged robots using low-degree-of-freedom (low-DoF) legs and demonstrate our approach with a lawn pest control task: picking dandelions using our inexpensive and easy to fabricate BigANT robot.”

This video shows perhaps an old, pre-robotics performance of the song: