China develops desert robots to monitor sandstorm   

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Beijing, Mar 9: Chinese scientists in the country's northwest have developed two specialised robots that will record sand and dust levels related to desertification.

The robots, one six-legged and the other wheeled with a loading capacity of 8 kg and 80 kg respectively, can measure wind speed, air pressure, humidity, sand vibration and wind erosion, Yang Zelin, a member of Ningxia University research team said today.


The robots, which are equipped with solar panels, use microwaves to relay data over an area of 25 kilometers. They can run for one hour, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Yang as saying.

Currently desert data is mainly collected from aerological stations, as it was previously difficult to collect on-the-ground information.

"The various sensors installed on the robots are only 50 centimeters from the ground, offering us the much needed in situ data we require," said Yang.

The robots are the result of a collaboration project between Ningxia University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Ningxia, a dry and barren region in northwest China, borders Tengger Desert, China's fourth largest desert, which stretches over 43,000 sq kms.


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