It's a bit of a stretch to describe them as robots, but the latest weather-forecasting aids from Japan certainly look pretty damn futuristic.
Spheres that know
In that very Japanese way, Weathernews has created not analytical-looking monitoring devices, but cutesy white 30cm-diameter spheres with glowing eyes. The five different colours the eyes can turn give anyone passing by a quick reckoner of how much pollen is in the air.
The machines are due to be placed in 200 locations around the country, from where they'll contribute to a regional pollen forecast on Weathernews's website.
As we saw last year, hay fever is a serious problem in Japan, so let's hope the predicted pollen surge due in a few months isn't too much for the army of Pollen Robots to handle.