A pick-and-place attachment that could locate and remove rocks would be useful. Even better if it scans and stores their shape for later assembly into rock walls, etc.
It could have a little mallet/hammer that taps the rocks to verify that they are rocks (I’m assuming candidate rocks would be detected by computer vision) and maybe get a sense of their size from the vibrations?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, as it’s something I’m going to need pretty soon. There’s an actuator design that’s basically sand in a balloon, you press the balloon… ah, never mind. I found it, it’s been commercialized: “VERSABALL® Grippers utilize Empire’s proprietary granular jamming technology” ~ Empire Robotics, Inc. So that’s out?
This is what I’m working with. I have no problem building soil on top of of this, but it’s clearly not something one can plow, eh? I won’t be doing a lot of digging on this land. But a robot that could collect, sort, and stack rocks would sure come in handy.
I had a brainwave last night. I think the thing you want here is a shop vac, eh? Suction, not digging, is the way to get at this ground. Dump the stuff onto a set of graduated sieves to get rocks, course and fine gravel, sand, and loam.
A trommel screen is what I want, vacuum the ground into a trommel screen and I’m good-to-go.