Drone-flown robotic arm revolutionizes Kauai’s rare flora protection
Botanical researchers on the island of Kauai have teamed up with engineers in Quebec’s University of Sherbrooke to create a robotic arm flown by drone to collect rare flora in difficult or impossible-to -access spots for humans as part of their efforts to preserve endangered plants for centuries to come.
Scientists at Hawaii’s National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) and University of Sheerbrook partnered with specialized tech company Outreach Robotics in developing the tailor-made aerial tool called Mamba. In trials, researchers piloted the drone-transported robotic arm to access rare plants located in inhospitable terrain for humans, including some of the dizzying and spectacularly sheer cliff faces for which Kauai is famous.
Samples of flora collected with the device are brought to NTGB laboratories, where they are grown from cuttings, and their seeds are preserved for – it is hoped – renewed proliferation one day.
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