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.

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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)

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