Banner
    Towards A More Benign Camel Racing Robot
    By Martin Gardiner | February 14th 2013 09:39 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Martin

    I specialise in beachcombing the scholarly journals and university websites for uncommonly intriguing academic articles by uncommonly intriguing...

    View Martin's Profile
    Although robotic jockeys for camel racing have been successfully deployed for several years now, some have voiced concerns about them – for many of the 'bots are configured to vigorously cane the competing camels. (Hi-res photographic example here – the Swiss-made KMEL - manufactured by the K-Team Corporation – note the robotic whipping mechanism).
    But now a potentially less harmful camel jockey-bot is available. It was developed by researcher and inventor Mohamed Shakir, formerly based at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University. The bot still brandishes a whip, but it’s used only to provide a ‘whip-crack’ sound above the camel (rather than actually thrashing its ‘sensitive areas’). At the same time it also relays crucial voice commands to the animal via a dedicated radio-link, amplifier and a set of speakers. The commands are remotely provided in real-time by the camel’s trainer – who rides alongside the racetrack in the comfort of an SUV.

    A photo of the new camel jockey-bot is available here, courtesy qatarqlick.com

    Notes: The impetus for camel-jockey-bot development came in 2002, when the United Arab Emirates prohibited the use of child camel-jockeys (under 15 years of age). Qatar followed suit with similar legislation in 2005.

    BONUS: Explore the extensive camel racing facilities at As-Sahhaniyah, (a.k.a. Al Shahaniyah) Qatar, via satellite imagery courtesy Google maps. [zoom out to view]