THE POLLEN ROBOT
In 2009, Japanese weather forecasting company Weathernews began distributing the “Pollen robot”, a colourful pod that monitors the amount of pollen in the area and issues colour-coded warnings, based on a scale of one to five.
The spheres were distributed and installed in homes across Japan. Data collected by the bots is sent back to weathernews, which makes the information available online.
“You cannot really see pollen, but these detectors help you find out the exact pollen levels at a particular location at a particular time," company spokesperson Naoko Tani was quoted as saying.
The technology appears to be working. Allergy sufferers have reported the information collected by the pods allow them to better plan their day -- particularly during spring, which is the height of pollen season.
Employee for Japanese weather forecasting company Weathernews, Mayuka Nakatani, displays some of the 500 pod-shaped pollen counting robots at the company's headquarters in Chiba City, suburban Tokyo on February 3, 2009. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)