The $400,000 Poop-Scooping Robot

Culprits of curbside canine malfeasance, beware! The PR2 is out to clean up your mess.

We've all seen them, casually standing there, fiddling with their phone or gazing at the clouds, as if their dog isn't dropping a deuce right there on the sidewalk. I'm talking about the people who can't be bothered to clean up after Fido has done his business. Sure, no one likes picking up dog turds with a plastic bag, but I don't particularly like hop-scotching around Dachshund droppings while on my evening promenade.

Thanks to some researchers over at the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP Lab, both culprits and victims of curbside canine malfeasance should have reason to rejoice.

Say hello to the Perception Of Offensive Products and Sensorizied Control Of Object Pickup, also known as POOP SCOOP. It's a robot designed by the GRASP Lab researchers that is capable of finding and removing 95 percent of pooch's poo at a sidewalk-sparkling rate of one ppm (that's poo per minute).

The robot uses color cameras to scan for Potentially Offensive Objects for Pickup of the high fiber variety. When they're identified, the robot uses a standard store-bought pooper scooper to gobble-up the piles and place them in a bucket. If POOP SCOOP's aim is off, it will try again.

For now, the robot exists as a clunky, tongue-and-cheek project, but the technology is nothing to scrape your shoe about. What is, however, is the robot's $400,000 price tag. With plastic bags freely available after each bodega run, or this more affordable biodegradable option, I suspect the robot won't be catching on anytime soon, especially when it costs as much as a Lamborghini.

Perhaps with a few modifications and price reduction, we could see the POOP SCOOP patrolling sidewalks everywhere. Until then, please pick after your dog...or watch your step.

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[Via Inhabitat]

Image: GRASP Lab