Arta.—The sea, mountains, natural vegetation and native species of the Parc de Llevant in eastern Majorca have been chosen as a site to test a new robotic camera that has been designed by Xurxo Gago, a Doctor of Biology at the University of Vigo .

This week, the scenic spots of s'Arenalet and es Oguers in the nature reserve have come under the watchful eye of the robot. It whirled under its own steam across the countryside, endlessly capturing shots which will enable scientists to monitor the environment whilst maximising resources.

The pilot project is being run by the Balearic University which is making use of the robot for a study of plants growing in climatic and geological conditions which are typical of the Mediterranean. Eight teachers and 15 students are collecting data on the state of vegetation after the summer.

At first sight, the robot appears to be a small helicopter fitted with a camera propelled by six motors angled to spin in different directions . Investigators say the robot, controlled remotely, significantly speeds up data collection. “Even though the robot is still at an experimental stage, we're satisfied with the results so far,” said Gago. He explained that the next stage of development is to apply the use of the robot to agriculture so that crop disease can be detected quickly and the necessary remedial action taken straight away. “It's an excellent opportunity for the students to work first hand with the robot” a University team leader remarked.