Japan’s fascination with robotics and all things high-tech is legendary, but did you know thy make robot scarecrows now? Well, Super Robot Wolf is meant to scare a lot more than crows, but still, Japan may be taking their love for technology a bit too far.
When I was growing up, farmers kept birds and other wild animals away from their crops with old fashioned scarecrows. You know, some rags hanging on a cross structure made of sticks with some chimes or small bells for added effect, and that worked ok. But those things couldn’t hold a candle to this Japanese robot scarecrow with the coolest, most over-the-top name imaginable – Super Robot Wolf. They say ii can scare away any wild animal, from deer to bears, and it definitely looks terrifying enough to do it.
Developed by Hokkaido robotics company Ohta Seiki, Super Robot Wolf was recently borrowed by JA Kisarazu-shi, an agricultural cooperative association, to test its effectiveness in keeping wild animals away from crops. Looking like a hell hound, with freakishly large eyes and chompers that could bite through anything, Super Robot Wolf is a scary sight behold, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
The high-tech scarecrow is equipped with an infrared ray sensor that lets it detect animals as they approach. When they get to close, the robot activates. The eyes start glowing red, its head moves from one side to the other to create the illusion that it is alive, and it is capable of playing approximately 40 different sounds in rotation, from wolf howling, to human voices and even gunshots, at high volume. And if you don’t trust its intruder detection capabilities, Super Monster Wolf also comes with a timer, so you can program it to activate at certain intervals.
The creators of Super Robot Wolf began testing it at a Sapporo botanical garden called Kaiyuen, in December of last year. Wild animals like deer used to damage the trees and other plants there, in search of food, but ever since the modern scarecrow was installed, incidents decreased by 90%. The farmers of JA Kisarazu-shi also had nothing but praise for their new best friend, saying that there have been no signs of wild animals or birds near their crops since Super Monster Wolf was installed on July 11.
Although technically still in trial phase, Super Robot Wolf has been performing so well that Ohta Seiki has already announced plans to put it on the market in September. Each unit will retail for about ¥200,000 ($1,800). Not the cheapest scarecrow money can buy, but definitely the most advanced one.