Thursday, 06 June 2013 13:16

Voice-operated harvester meets its first global audience

The world’s most nimble harvester, the T-Bear, is a home-made marvel controlled only by a voice and two buttons instead of joysticks and levers. The machine can handle both thinning and final felling, and can turn around in a circle only 3.4 metres in diameter. Its Swedish inventor Torbjörn Ericsson is now at Elmia Wood presenting it to the whole world.

voice elmia

Torbjörn Ericsson is the inventor of the T-Bear, a voice-controlled harvester that is operated with only two buttons and can turn around in a 3.4 metre-diameter circle. The operator can control the harvester by voice alone just by recording the appropriat

“No other forest machine in the world can manage to turn in such a tight circle,” Ericsson says.

He developed the machine’s ingenious solutions by adapting ideas from a wide range of sources: aircraft, cars, assistive aids for the functionally impaired and even nursing care.

“The engine cover moves on simple runners like those used by ambulances to load the stretcher into the vehicle.”

Ericsson has patented both the voice control system and the wheel hub design. The former has a Swedish patent and the latter a patent in several countries. In the space of a few seconds the front axel can be widened by 30 centimetres on each side to vary the track width from 2.9 to 3.5 metres without reducing the machine’s turning ability.

The voice control system is based on those used by the functionally impaired. Operators can pre-record their commands and the harvester will respond to the correct instruction, for example to fell a tree.

The T-Bear was first presented to a Swedish audience at SkogsElmia 2011 but now its inventor is presenting it to a global audience in the hope of finding business partners.

“Elmia Wood is perfect for that – the whole world is here,” Ericsson says.

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