Problem Statement

Ticks are large contributors to the widespread cases of Babesiosis virus in the areas of Northern Africa amongst the general population of humans and livestock [1]. As a result, more researchers are venturing to specific areas such a Kenya and Mongolia to collect and analyze ticks located in those regions. As a result, tick collection has been widely practiced in foreign regions, for scientists to gain a better understanding of the diseases and how to treat them. The most common way of capturing ticks generally includes these scientists going out into the field and dragging a white cloth along the ground for approximately 2-3 hours at a time. The various problems with this method include: the potential transmission of disease due to ticks attaching to the researcher, heat exhaustion or heat stroke due to the extended time in the very hot and dry climate of Kenya.  The possibility of dangerous encounters with wildlife such as lions and elephants are a hazard as well [2]. To address this physical method of tick collection, a robot will be designed in a manner where it eliminates the risk of transmitted diseases in sub-Saharan areas and help reduce the environmental impact of tick pesticide [3].

        To address this problem, the robot will be designed with the following specifications. To retain the portability of the robot, the maximum weight of the product will be no more than 30 pounds. Doing so will allow the robot to operate with less power and more efficiency. Lightweight materials such as carbon fiber will aid in keeping the cost and weight down. In addition, the robot will operate on a battery/solar-powered system, which will allow it to travel up to a distance of at least 750 meters and be operational for a minimum of 2-3 hours. Tires of at least 8-inches will also be implemented to address the need of the robot to be operated in grassy terrains and to avoid any obstacles and obstructions in its path. In accordance, during the collection process, the robot will include a container of at least 50 ml to have enough space to store the desired number of ticks. To attract the ticks, the robot will include a holder for either a C02 canister or dry ice [2]. A potential design element for the storage container is to line it with pesticide to either kill or prevent the ticks from escaping. The storage container will also be designed for easy access and extraction from the robot. In addition, since some ticks respond to different environmental senses such as sound and smell, other elements could be included into the tick bot to better attract them. For example, Hyalomma ticks respond to sounds and vibrations, so a stomper could be incorporated to the robot.

In addition, this robot can help reduce areas of high tick concentration in high traffic environments such as schools, malls, and parks. With the incorporation of special design elements and concrete specifications, it will increase our product’s appeal in the tick-research industry by not only serving to aid in the research of ticks, but by also contributing to the welfare of people by reducing tick concentration in public areas.

        The market for this robot ranges from people in the field of Entomology to companies that deal with the removal/collection of tick-like insects. While, this robot is specifically designed for the collection of ticks, it can be modified to suit the needs for collecting insects. Currently, tick robots on the market only attempt to collect ticks on to the cloth and then require users to manually remove the ticks by hand. What sets our design apart from market-ready products is that it will automate the process of removing the ticks.

 

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