Vancouver man makes robot to help fight against global warming

Meet 'Henry' the robot

A Vancouver local is proving that even a pandemic can't put a wrench in his creativity.

Tyler Dwyer set himself the challenge of building a robot inside his downtown apartment when the COVID-19 shutdown started, with a grand plan to combat global warming. 

"With global warming the biggest issue is it's just big, it's really big. The solution to it is fairly easy. You take a whole bunch of CO2 out of the atmosphere and you're good. But the amount of CO2 you need to take out of the atmosphere is just ridiculous. 

"From my perspective, there's very little we humans are going to be able to do about that. It's just too big of a problem, so to handle the scale of it - robots. Robots can handle the scale - both in the scale of sheer quantity of carbon, just moving the carbon around, but also over time because it's going to take decades, if not centuries to correct, so there's the scale of time there too."

The 33-year-old was laid off from his job at the beginning of the pandemic, and decided to put years worth of experience into action, under the banner of his company Pink Robotics.

The robots he creates will be used to autonomously plant and care for trees and other plants as part of maintaining large scale carbon sequestration forests. 

His most recent creation, which took about two months to build, has also been gifted a name, in honour of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

"His name is Henry. It should be a female then, but Henry's not a very female name, so it became a male, but it's definitely named after Bonnie Henry, of course, because she's awesome. I look forward to when all of this is over and we make statues for her and everything ... she's our local hero." 

Henry is mostly made of plywood, says Dwyer, and was "quite challenging" to build inside a small apartment. He expects to be able to eventually load 1,000 pounds on Henry to haul around. 

Dwyer set an ambitious goal for the project's Kickstarter, hoping to raise a whopping $10 million to see his vision come to life. As of Thursday evening, the page had raised $1,056.

The plan consists of three phases - firstly, raising the necessary funds, purchasing an 100 hectare plot of non-forest land and planting the carbon sequestration forest by hand and machine.

Phase two focuses on the testing of robotic systems at 1,000 hectares, and phase three will deploy the project at a scale of about 10 million hectares. 

Visit the Kickstarter page here

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