Sebastiaan FabAcademy Final project

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Leaf collection robots: Leafbot

My home is located in the countryside with a lot of oak trees surrounding my home. Every year during the autumn season enormous amount of leaves falling down to the ground, covering my garden which has a size of 3400m2.

The rot process of the oak leaves takes very long. Therefor the leaves has te be removed. In average every year it takes about 2 months every Saturday blowing and raking the leaves together. Every year it is a big task to grab the leafs and removing in total of 1200 -1500 kg of leaves from my garden.

With a leaf blower and a special rake I collecting leaves together to several big hills. This takes hours and a lot of energy to do so. When the leaves are raked together I take my forklift and a Bigbag (h*w*d: 110*120*120 cm). The Bigbag is hanged on the forklift spoons, so the Bigbag hangs stable and the leaves can easily been thrown in to the bag. I using big plastic grips to grab big amounts of leafs at ones. When the Bigbag is fully filled, a Bigbag has the weight of about 100kg. When a Bigbag is filled, I lift the Bigbag on to my pickup truck and bring the loaded Bigbags to the waste collection point of my local authority.

So since I like to spend my time more efficient I came up with the leaf collection robots. Something like the Husqvarna Automover, but then a device that picks up leaves instead of cutting the leaves in smaller fragments, due to the fact that amount of leaves is too much.

I started to sketch several options. The first options are big machines capable of storing big amounts of leaves. With an big suction unit equipped, the machine is driving autonomously over my garden. I sketched and considered

the pro’s and cons. The big size makes the machine not so flexible. Especially when the space in some parts of the garden is getting limited, the size of the robot then can be a problem. Also the power consumption can get high, due to the fact the robot gets heavy when it is packed with the leaves. A robot that can carry a Bigbag would be

much pervert because when a Bigbag is filled with leaves I only have to lift it up with my forklift on to the pickup truck. Thinking over these problems I suddenly thought about ants and anthills. Why not making several small leaf picking robots that manage themselves (the ants) and bring the leaves to a base station, the Bigbag, with is equipped with a blower and electric robot charging system, that can suck the leafs out of the robots into the Bigbag.

The ant robots are small vehicles that can run over a lawn, but should also be capable to drive underneath bushes. Because they are light and compact the should be able to run efficient and not consume a lot of energy. The base station can be connected to the standard 230V power supply so a bigger blower can be equipped without the need for heavy and bigger batteries. The base station can relocated to different spots on my property, making the running distances for the robot short.