Firm to Distribute Pollen-Detecting Robots across Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Weathernews Inc. employee prepares “Pollen Robo” pollen-detecting robots

CHIBA — A weather forecasting company is preparing to distribute pollen-detecting robots across the nation from Chiba Prefecture.

Weathernews Inc.’s spherical “Pollen Robo” device measures 15 centimeters in diameter and has been designed to roughly resemble a human face. The robot detects pollen via a built-in sensor and will be installed at about 1,000 locations nationwide.

Eye-like lights installed in the device change to one of five different colors — white, blue, yellow, red or purple — depending on the amount of pollen each robot detects. The data are automatically uploaded to the company’s website and smartphone app.

According to the Chiba-based company, this year’s pollen count is expected to be higher than last year in the Kanto and Tokai regions and western Japan. In the Kanto region, cedar pollen is expected to begin spreading in early February and peak around late February, while Cypress pollen is predicted to start spreading in late March.