The Ramakera is a robotic rhinoceros designed to monitor live ones and protect the herd from poachers. It would mimic real rhinos, but would remain out of their way to minimize outside interference. The Ramakera would be powered by a long-lasting hydrogen fuel cell and would be capable of limited movements.
I recently met with Canadian photographer/filmmaker Gregory Colbert at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New York. I exchanged a few e-mails with Colbert after the event, and he gave me the idea of creating a biomimetic robot capable of protecting animals in the wild since a lot of them are being harmed or killed by poachers at night.
How It Works
A Ramakera is an autonomous robotic rhino programmed to follow or stay close to herd while it travels across the plains of Africa. It would use hydraulics and servomotors to move its limbs, although traveling over long distances might prove to be a real challenge in the short term. Each Ramakera would use a navigation system to return to its base for maintenance, and they would use infrared cameras and other sensors to follow other Rhinos through the prairies and forests.
I am far from being an expert on animal behaviour and habitat, so bear with me here. I do know that some areas would be difficult to travel, so the first version of the Ramakera could simply be a fixed-base unit with limited mobility. Biologists and park rangers could use them to monitor and protect the real rhinos from a distance from dusk till dawn, similar to the K5 autonomous data machine from Knightscope.
To gain the trust of the herd, the Ramakera would have internal microprocessors and sensors that would allow it to make real-time calculations and mimic other rhinos to blend in easily. Of course the Ramakera would also be able to see, it would have night vision and infrared cameras, so it would be able to detect any animals or humans and record and report their activity tp park rangers.
The Ramakera’s body would be covered with artificial skin, and artificial scent would need to be developed to increase its chance of getting accepted as an unusual friend of the herd.
What It’s Used For
To protect animals, the Ramakera (or a variation of it) could be an ideal choice because its biomimetic features will limit wildlife disturbance as opposed to helicopters or other drones. It could also help catch offenders by luring them in or be used to learn more about animal behaviour.
The Ramakera robotic Rhinoceros was imagined in June 2016 by Charles Bombardier and designed by Kaan Yaylali, an Industrial Designer from Savannah, Georgia, USA. Kaan graduated with a degree in design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He currently works as Freelance designer at Astronaut Ape, and he also created the Rokko monkey and the Sebrid transit system concepts for Imaginactive.