When robot pigs dry

Before robots take over the world like some science-fiction books predict, artificially intelligent bots are taking a first step by vaccuuming the carpets and German company Thermo-System plough through the mud 24 hours a day drying sewer sludge in an environmentally friendly way, according to a report this week from UPI.

The stainless steel pigs look like child-sized Volkswagen Beetle convertibles, according to the article, and they're made with Thermo-System's patented drying system that draws on energy from the sun to suck water from heavy, wet sewage in plants operating in Germany and other countries.

The pigs work inside greenhouse-like sheds, where the sludge is spread around and a unique ventilation system based on microprocessors and sensors regulates the air to be warm and dry. The robot has mixing tools that aerate the sewage and prevent rotting. And the automatic system uses little energy unlike typical drying processes.

Thermo-System has built some 100 electrical pigs, which cost about $180,000. Countries including France, Brazil, Australia and Austria now run the energy-saving bots and plants.

Dry away.

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