Robotics engineers at Georgia Tech have built a SlothBot for use in the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which mimics the low-energy lifestyle of real sloths for extended continuous observation.
Powered by solar panels and using innovative power management technology, SlothBot moves along a cable strung between two large trees as it monitors temperature, weather, carbon dioxide levels, and other information in the Garden's 30-acre midtown Atlanta forest.
"SlothBot embraces slowness as a design principle," said Magnus Egerstedt, professor and Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "That's not how robots are typically designed today, but being slow and hyper-energy efficient will allow SlothBot to linger in the environment to observe things we can only see by being present continuously for months, or even years."
There's really no reason for it to look like a sloth except that it's adorable. It clearly wouldn't fool any actual animals into thinking it's a sloth and it serves no functional purpose. If we're just trying to make it look like a lazy slow-moving slob, they should've made it look like Tim from accounting. Seriously, Tim, get your shit together.
Keep going for a video of SlothBot in action. Spoiler alert: it's not very exciting.