While nothing too special when performed by people, it is very rare that you see a robot making cheese. The robot, named Moonlander, was made for the specific purpose of taking some of the hard work off the shoulders of cheesemakers in the Netherlands.
Moonlander was created by students majoring in robotics in their final year at the Delft University of Technology. The robot was the main lure for onlookers when it demonstrated easily moving around 26 pounds of cheese wheels.
The robot has been described as looking somewhat like a crab mixed with a UFO. Thankfully it wasn’t designed for its looks. In fact, it’s the main purpose is to lift and turn heavy cheese wheels, which is a main part of the aging process.
The Moonlander can also clean off the cheese molds and submerge the cheese in a special brine.
Timo van Frankenhuyzen, a student that worked on the robot, said that Moonlander can also assess a situation and see where its services are best needed.
The robot, although a labor of love, was also a product of a time limit. The Delft University students were given a limit of five months to get the robot up and running from scratch and ready to order from farmers.
Over one hundred people signed up for the robotics class, but only a few were able to participate in the making of history.
Students worked in teams of six to build robots with particular uses, turning out a total of eight different robots to show when the school had an open house.
The Netherlands has the label of being the second biggest agricultural exporter. Which makes it no surprise that a robot that helps with cheesemaking was widely requested.
Another robot that was made by the talented team of students was Roselia.
Roselia is essentially a camera, that when placed over a bed of roses, can tell the user which flowers are ready to be picked.
And one of the not quite as spectacular creations from the students was Barrie the barman. At the open house, Barrie had trouble keeping up with complex orders.
Johnathan Raes, one of the people who invented Barrie, was constantly having to open Barrie up and perform robot surgery to try and get him back on track.
Barrie’s point of the design is to make your wait for your drink ten times as enjoyable. This was hoped to be achieved by installing a game on Barrie that you can play during your wait.
One robot went horribly wrong on the day of the open house. Fizzy, the robot who acts as a purring ball, had a malfunction when something caused a part to melt.
Fizzy was designed as a way to brighten cancer patients’ days. It works similar to an interactive baby doll to keep the child busy.
Even with some of the robots not performing as expected, they are all incredible inventions. Delft University has won global recognition for the work of these few students.
The university believes that most of today’s problems can be solved with robots.