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Feature: Here a Bot, There a Bot

agribot image
AGRICULTURE

Reprinted from the January, 2010 Prism

Ever since Virginia inventor Cyrus McCormick perfected the mechanical reaper in the 1830s, engineers have sought ways to grow more food using fewer people. Now, they’re close to taking Old MacDonald off the farm altogether. Meet the agribot, already in use harvesting hard-to-pick edibles. Not only can it work all day without a break, but it has data-gathering potential through the use of satellite positioning, vision systems, and humidity measurements that could detect disease. In Japan, the Economist reports, Miyazaki and Kyoto universities are working on strawberry-picker agribots, and Japan’s National Agricultural Research Center has developed a robotic rice planter. At MIT, researchers are tackling the whole growing cycle: They’re raising cherry tomatoes in an experimental greenhouse, where a series of robots and sensors are entirely responsible for the growing, care, and harvesting of the plants. Right now, robots are a big investment, but in California, they’re already proving cost-effective in harvesting raisins. Ee-i-ee-i-oh! – JAIMIE SCHOCK

One Response to “Feature: Here a Bot, There a Bot”

  1. I find this creation intresting, but can see it putting a decline in the farm workers

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