Hugh Herr heads MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics research group. He gave an inspiring speech at TED in March about his work developing advanced prosthetics and exoskeletons. Watch the whole speech below and learn about the future of bionic humans and cyborgs.
At a study site in Kasigau, Kenya, subsistence farmers scratch out a living on dry, nutrient-depleted soil. The small farms, called shambas, rely on rain and methods in use since the beginning of agriculture to produce corn, lentils and cowpeas.
Wildlife —from elephants to monkeys and small antelope — raid these crops. By doing so, they take food off farmers’ tables or, in extreme cases, cost a grower his or her livelihood for a full season.
The problem and the basic solution are ancient. Farmers plant crops, animals raid them, and farmers put up scarecrows to frighten off the marauders. Now, researchers are combining common technologies with insight into animal behavior to update the ancient scarecrow in the hopes of helping the most vulnerable of growers.