EU’s FutureFarm on Year Two of Wired EuroFarming

3 Billion dollars worth of software management is going into the EU FutureFarm project. Here’s the scoop on this standardized farm management information system:

This short film, first presented at Agritechnica 2009, shows the concept developed within the EU FP7 project “FutureFarm” for a service-oriented architecture for delivering knowledge about farm management and crop production rules, regulations, laws and standards in a machine-readable form.
Using this system, farmers’ software may automatically check planned operations for compliance to any standards.

Here’s a flyer with more info

The EU's Future Farm Project
The EU's Future Farm Project

Future Robotics Technologies Will Shape Production Process of Vegges

Says the folks responsible for that future:

Manipulation is the key issue for robotics to apply to the agricultural industry,” said Jeff Legault, associate director of business development at the National Robotics Engineering Center, Carnegie Mellon University.

Creating robots with the ability to harvest produce as quickly and gently has humans won’t be possible for at least another decade, Legault said, but will change the way companies produce fruits and vegetables when it is widely adopted. ThePacker.com

This would be an interesting guy to hear more from.

Robotic Farms of the Past Future [or Future Past]

Lots of great tidbits from Paleo-Future, including:

Superfarm+year+2020

Superfarm in the year 2020

Future+Farming

Epcot’s The Future World of Agriculture 1984

1982+robot+farms+full+paleo-future

1983’s Our Future Needs (World of Tomorrow)

Carnegie Mellon’s SnackBot

Although the focus of this site is exploring agricultural robots, we will definitely make room for some sweet, sweet robot butlers.

<blockquote>CMU’s Snackbot is a roving wheeled ‘bot who’s primary purpose is to roam the halls of the University’s buildings, delivering tasty treast to students and faculty. Snackbot not only drives around bringing snacks, he also brings plenty of goodwill, with a pleasant-sounding voice communication system and calm demeanor unlikely to be rattled by even the most demanding snack customer. He features a sophisticated “multi-sensor fusion algorithms” which let him understand where he’s going, navigate through crowds, and can autonomously learn new objects.

– <a href=”http://technabob.com/blog/2009/10/18/snackbot-snack-delivering-robot/”>Technabob.com</a></blockquote&gt;

MORE: <a href=”http://www.snackbot.org/team-public.html”>Carnegie Mellon’s Snackbot</a>.

N Tech Industries and the Green Seeker

Traditional industrial agriculture relies on large scale application of pesticides that work hand in hand with genetically modified crops. Researchers at Oklahoma State University have developed a soil sensing mechanism that deploys site-specific amounts of chemicals.

To quote the short film:

This is precision agriculture at it’s best. The environment is spared unnecessary spraying of chemicals. The savings in fertilizer translate into cheaper food at the grocery store. And farmers benefit from lower operating costs. [1:27 – 1:39]

This is a version of a Robot Farm – as the title of the film implies – one which the growBot project seeks to develop an alternative to.

More info at the GreenSeeker home.

World’s Fastest Picking Robot: Quattro

One of the many challenges in imagining how robotics can aid organic farming is the question of Why. Why should technologies intervene in age-old production techniques? Isn’t modern organic farming a direct response and alternative to industrial food production?

These are great questions, and ones that I am sure this project will have to grapple with time and time again.

The introduction of the Quattro robot – billed the world’s fastest robot – this past week is for me ample reason to pursue this line of inquiry. It seems clear that as technologies geared toward industrial production accelerate, organic farming would be well served by creating small-scale, eco-friendly technologies to help ease the workload.

More on Quattro:

“The Quattro robot is the fastest robot in the world and its advantages over conventional robots not only include faster cycles and settling times but increased payload and more consistent performance throughout the workspace,” said Rush LaSelle, director of global sales and marketing for Adept Technology, Inc. – Adept Technology press release

Bolivian Students Prototype Agribot

Bolivian_students

Students in Bolivia prototyped a robot they designed to help indigenous farmers moderate their soil chemicals. Reports the University of New Mexico:

Sergio ValencÍa Cordova, Rodrigo López and Sergio Saavedra from the Universidad Privada Boliviana presented their automated agricultural robot as part of the student competition at the Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC) conference taking place on campus this week.

The robot is a prototype that could be used to plot map points on a field, and drill into soft soil to examine what nutrients need to be added for efficient agriculture. The students say the government could buy the robots for villages around the country and local farmers could borrow the robots to tell them exactly how much nitrogen or potassium should be added to support a particular crop.

Sorry for the tiny photo.