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SOFT WORM ROBOT: LOCOMOTION CHARACTERISTICS AND SENSING FOR AGRICULTURAL ROBOTICS

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2025-09-05
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Abstract

The growing demand for improved agricultural practices has led to the exploration of innovative technologies in agricultural robotics. To achieve the best agricultural conditions and ensure healthy plant roots for higher yields through careful monitoring, it becomes necessary to install multiple sensors (such as temperature, humidity, and vision sensors) under the soil across vast farmland areas. However, the significant costs associated with acquiring and deploying such sensors on large farms have led to the search for alternative approaches. This thesis addresses this challenge by introducing a new soft earthworm robot with advanced navigation and sensing capabilities that can move through simple to complex terrains and under the soil to obtain these measurements. Inspired by the movement of earthworms, this robot uses peristaltic movement for efficient and adaptable mobility. Equipped with multiple sensors, including temperature, humidity, and vision sensors, this worm robot eliminates the need for numerous stationary sensors. Thus, the overall objective of this thesis is to use a develop, characterize a mobile soft worm robot and use it for meticulous monitoring of farmland.

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58 pages

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2023-08

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Keywords

Agricultural Robotics; Bio-inspired Robots; Earthworm Robot; Root Detection; Soil Sensors; Vision Sensing

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Committee Chair

Shepherd, Robert

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Bauerle, Taryn

Degree Discipline

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

M.S., Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level

Master of Science

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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