A solar-powered robotic scarecrow called “Super Monster Wolf” has been deployed in Japanese farmers' fields, warding off agricultural pests with its red flashing eyes and a range of scary sounds.
Super Monster Wolf is the product of seven long years of research sponsored by the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives of Kisarazu City in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. The fierce-looking, fur-covered, robot in wolf's clothing was developed by Hokkaido University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, and Okita Seiki Corporation.
Super Monster Wolf would be even more fearsome if it actually chased marauding deer and wild boar out of the rice fields, of course. Alas, its only deterrents are flashing red LED eyes and a built-in speaker capable of emitting barks, howls, and even the sound of gunfire at up to 90 decibels... the neighbors are gonna love it!
Super Monster Wolf (we love that name and we love writing it, OK?) really doesn't have to look so werewolf-like, being that it's deployed at night when pests are active. That said, the over-the-top appearance is truly awesome in and of itself – priced at 514,000 yen (around $4,840) each, you get what you pay for. Budget-watching farmers can also lease a Super Monster Wolf for 12,100 yen (around $114) per month.
Super Monster Wolf stands 50cm (20 inches) tall and stretches 65cm (a little over 2 feet) from white-fanged snout to oddly fur-less tail. When its internal infrared sensors detect unwelcome animals, the scarecr- er, scare-wolf deploys its various weapons powered by an internal battery charged daily by a solar panel.
According to Chihiko Umezawa (above) of the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, in-field trials of the Super Monster Wolf have proven so effective, the robot has been put into mass production. Umezawa also stated the low-maintenance device has an effective radius of about one kilometer, making it more economical to use than an electric fence encircling a comparable area. (via BBC, 3yen, Nippon News, and Chiba Nippo)