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Tokyo-based weather forecasting company Weathernews, Inc. is deploying a 200 glowing eyeball-shaped robots (called “Pollen Bots”) nationwide in order to monitor the pollen count around the country. The robots weigh 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs), measure 30 centimeters (1 ft) across and consist of a monitoring unit housed in a spherical styrofoam shell. Their eyes glow 5 different colors in order to indicate the level of cedar and cypress pollen in the air. This is a community effort, as 200 hay fever sufferers are hanging the bots outside their homes where they monitor the air and communicate over the Internet to update a real-time online pollen map located at Weathernews’ headquarters in Tokyo. A pretty interesting and rather ominous way to implement distributed environment sensing technologies.

Pollen Robots – [via], Link (in Japanese)