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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-for-one-welcome-our-new-Chainsaw-Bot-overlords dept.

Sir Garlon writes:

"Researchers in Japan have developed a chainsaw-wielding robot that climbs trees and prunes off limbs. Such pruning is currently done by humans, who can't always use a cherry picker and sometimes have to climb the tree and operate the chainsaw one-handed. That is, not surprisingly, rather dangerous. The robot is still experimental, and it's remotely operated, not fully autonomous. But it's an impressive gadget none the less. Robots with chainsaws, what could possibly go wrong? Linked article includes video."

 
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by nukkel on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:52PM

    by nukkel (168) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:52PM (#7313)

    It won't.

    It's also a flawed idea, since pruning a tree often involves removing only a few selected branches, rather than stripping the entire trunk. The robot doesn't look like it's able to climb over branches without actually cutting them off.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:20PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:20PM (#7327) Homepage Journal

    This looks like it's not very useful anyway. The largest tree it can climb has a trunk no more than 25 cm (10 inches) diameter, that's not a very big tree. It can only cut 5 cm (2 inch) limbs? Almost useless. About its only use is trimming limbs that hang over power lines as afar as I can see, and how damgerous is a two inch limb?

    Dead limb in the middle of that 75 year old walnut tree? You're going to need a real tree guy to take that out. This thing can't climb a tree that fat, can't cut branches in the middle of the tree, and can't cut that five inch diameter limb.

    I mean come on, a two inch limb? I could almost take one out with a paring knife.

    Also, I found the article itself silly. "Of all the things you should not give robots—lasers, knives, swords—one of the worst is possibly chainsaws. I mean, chainsaws are noisy in a terrifying sort of way and awfully messy."

    Apparently the writer never heard of robotic surgery [wikipedia.org] or LASIK. [wikipedia.org] In fact, LASIK is impossible without laser-wielding robots.

    Noisy in a terrifying sort of way? WTF?

    --
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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by buswolley on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:29PM

      by buswolley (848) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @03:29PM (#7332)

      Prototypes are generally limited. Bigger diameters could probably be accounted for without fundamental changes in design, I would guess.

      --
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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:00PM

      by frojack (1554) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:00PM (#7514) Journal

      Dude: Its a forestry tool. Its not for urban trees.

      Think tree farms: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63 /Pinus_taeda_plantation.jpg [wikimedia.org]

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      • (Score: 1) by Rivenaleem on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:57AM

        by Rivenaleem (3400) on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:57AM (#7885)

        Also, a farmed forest WILL have telegraph straight trees in it, all the stunted ones being pruned away and any branches that impact the direction of growth also removed.

    • (Score: 1) by kogspg on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:02PM

      by kogspg (850) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:02PM (#7517)

      Seeing how this was developed in Japan I imagine the ideology of tree trimming differs from the typical western view. The Japanese actively prune tree not just for safety reasons but for aesthetics. It's that whole wabisabi [wikipedia.org] philosophy. So while it may not be good for giant oak trees, it seems perfect for routine tree maintenance. The roomba of tree pruning if you will.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:56PM

    by frojack (1554) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:56PM (#7508) Journal

    It's not a flawed Idea, nor is it designed to remove "just a few" branches. You are confusing urban tree trimming with actual forestry.

    Its designed to remove All Branches up to a certain height. This is typically done in dense stands of relatively straight trees such as you would find in a tree farm. [wikimedia.org]

    You typically want to keep under-story branches to a minimum, especially if your crop is for Poles (telephone poles, etc). Keeping lower branches cut makes the trees grow straight. Its also great for preventing grass fires from turning into crown fires.

    Some of these plantations are so dense that getting a bucket truck in there is hard, so they climb, (with boot spikes and a belt, leaving both hands free [wikimedia.org] to handle the saw (you can tell who ever wrote the summary has never worked in the woods).

    Anyway, depending on the weight of this thing, one or two guys could trim up branches from an acre of trees very quickly. And when you have 500 acres of the same type of tree that's pretty important.

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