(BBC) - The trick used by hamsters to get an exercise ball rolling is helping to power a spherical robot.

Spanish researchers have found a way to mimic the shifting movement of a hamster inside a ball to get their Rosphere robot moving.

Rosphere robot

The electronics controlling the robot replace the hamster and act as a swinging weight to propel it forward.

Field trials have shown the Rosphere could help monitor soil conditions on arable land.