03 July 1997
Slug-digesting robot in development
New Scientist reported that robots are being developed to hunt and
destroy slugs in fields of crops. The research is being carried out at the
University of the West of England, in Bristol. The robots would vacuum or pick
up the slugs, put them in a digester and ferment them. Methane gas would be
emitted which would be used to recharge the robots batteries.
The researchers are keen to make sure the machines do not also digest and ferment snails. An electronic eye might be able to prevent this, they said.
Commercial availability of such a device would reduce the need for farmers to
spend £10m a year on slug pellets which harm birds and animals
that feed on the slugs. The researchers have secured a £60,000 government grant. They hope to have a prototype within two years.