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Singapore turns to swan robots

Swan robots are being used in Singapore to test the quality of water in reservoirs.

Five robotic birds are being deployed on reservoirs serving the city state in Asia, with the ambition being to monitor the quality of the water.

Professor Mandar Chitre of the National University of Singapore, told Channel News Asia: "We started with a number of smaller bird models, before we decided on the swan.

"It's just the right size. If you look at it in the environment, it looks just like a swan swimming around."

The swans have been designed in a way that ensures they can survive encounters with kayaks and small boats.

And while the so-called swanbots have been designed to be as autonomous as possible, they can also be controlled using remote controls.

This comes shortly after it was revealed that a Japanese hospital plans to use robots to ease the load on staff during night shifts.

The facility in the city of Nagoya is to turn to the Toyota-developed devices in a bid to lessen the strain on its staff.

The robots are being introduced to transport medicines and tests samples between the different floors of the Nagoya University Hospital.

Impressively, the robots have a 90-litre capacity and are even able to navigate their way around the hospital thanks to a system of radar and cameras.

It's been confirmed, too, that the devices have been designed in a way that allows them to avoid bumping into humans, while the robots are also able to say: "Excuse me, please let me pass."

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