In the middle of a night's sleep, have you ever had that dream that you're falling? Well, some mosquitos do. Read on...
Sustainability is ingrained in Autodesk's vision of helping people imagine, design, and make a better world. Autodesk launched the Autodesk Foundation in 2014 to align its philanthropic giving with our core business and expertise in design and engineering. The foundation supports people and organizations using design and innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. WeRobotics is one of those innovative organizations.
On October 25, I attended a presentation by Andrew Schroeder, Co-founder of WeRobotics. WeRobotics is working on robotics for the benefit of all. WeRobotics was established in December 2015 as a not-for-profit organization with head offices in the USA and Switzerland. WeRobotics poses a simple question:
What if aid could reach remote communities more quickly?
WeRobotics believes that emerging technologies (e.g., Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), artificial intelligence) can significantly accelerate and scale the positive impact of aid, health, development, and environmental efforts — especially when deployed in remote regions of the world reeling from natural disasters. WeRobotics’ mission is to sustainably localize appropriate robotics solutions in low-income countries to accelerate impact.
Here is some of the interesting work being done by WeRobotics:
Agriculture in Tanzania
Aerial imagery can be used to access topology, hydrology, cadastral boundaries, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) — an indication as to whether or not a region contains living vegetation. Aerial imagery from UAVs can be used to train artificial intelligence models to provide better results to improve plant health, productivity, and pre-harvest loss.
Risky Terrain Assessment in Nepal
WeRobotics was asked by one of their partners in FlyingLabs, Medair, to work together to access the vulnerability of one of the biggest landslide areas in a community where they are reconstructing earthquake-affected households. Flying Labs is a global network of local knowledge hubs in emerging economies that accelerates the positive impact of local projects by training local partners on how to use robotics technology responsibly and effectively. Flying Labs also expands local markets by creating new jobs and businesses that offer robotics as a service.
Medicine Delivery in Peru
In areas where travel is primarily by boat on meandering rivers, UAVs cut delivery time significantly by traveling as the crow flies. Getting medicines to sick people more quickly helps save lives.
Combating Disease by Reducing the Mosquito Population
Well about that dream:
- Mosquitos spread diseases such as the Zika Virus, Dengue Virus, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya, and Malaria.
- Reducing the number of mosquitos reduces the spread of disease.
- Reducing the number of mosquito offspring has a long-term effect on reducing the mosquito population.
One way to reduce mosquito offspring is to introduce sterile male mosquitos into the population. Many parts of the world are loaded with mosquitos, but the terrain makes it challenging for humans to access via land. To access such remote regions, UAVs are a perfect solution.
- UAVs have limited space so thousands of sterilized male mosquitos must be packed into a small payload container.
- Packing sterilized male mosquitos so tightly agitates them, and unfortunately, they kill one another.
- To avoid sterilized male mosquitos attacking one another, they are put into a sleep state by lowering their temperature to an almost frozen state.
- The deployment process consists of opening the payload container, allowing a predetermined amount of sterilized male mosquitos to pour out, and as they fall to the ground, they thaw, wake up, and begin flying safely in pursuit of female mosquitos.
So these sterilized male mosquitos may think that they are dreaming that they are falling, but they are actually falling.
The Autodesk Foundation is proud to support WeRobotics. Through software, financial grants, pro bono consulting support from Autodesk employees, and more, we are helping WeRobotics reach their goals.
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). Organizations like WeRobotics are shining examples of trying to do more and better with less.
Philanthropic robots are alive in the lab.