Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On June 16th 2020, the Georgia Institute Of Technology (Georgia Tech) announced what they proclaimed as “a new high-tech tool in the battle to save some of the world’s most endangered species” would be on display for the next several months at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (also of Georgia). Unimaginatively named SlothBot, Georgia Tech’s solar powered, partly 3D printed robotic sloth would operate along a 100-foot-long cable strung between 2 trees, monitoring weather conditions and carbon dioxide levels, as well as other for reasons unknown unspecified information.

While Georgia Tech professor Magnus Egerstedt was at a vineyard in Coasta Rica, he observed two-toed sloths moving along overhead wires in the tree canopy while searching for food, which served as the inspiration for SlothBot’s design. He argues that SlothBot’s energy efficiency and slow movement speed enable it to be in the environment for long enough to observe what humans could only see by being there for months or even years. Measuring circa 3 feet in length, SlothBot is programmed to only move when necessary, can seek out sunlight when its batteries need recharging, and can move between multiples cables when working over larger areas.

Georgia Tech hopes that SlothBot will help the scientific community better understand how to protect rare species and endangered ecosystems, as well as give a new way to get visitors to the Atlanta Botanical Garden interested in environmental conservation. After testing there is finished, Georgia Tech hopes to move SlothBot to South America, either to observe orchid pollination or the lives of endangered species of frog.

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Disclaimer: Featured image of “Bradypus” has been released into the public domain by its author Tauchgurke. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: Tauchgurke grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.