Precision Agriculture: Robot Gardeners Serve Plant Network
Precision agriculture is a system in which gardening robots work together with networked plants that communicate water and nutrient needs in an MIT project from their Distributed Robotics Lab.
(MIT robot gardeners tend networked plants)
The system, which Rus refers to as precision agriculture, has a double advantage over the way crops are currently cultivated and harvested. First, due to each plantís ability to monitor and broadcast its own physical state, water, nutrients and care will be dispensed on an as-needed basis. This kind of targeted specificity should allow for a great reduction in resources consumed in the growth process, ameliorating the heavy carbon footprint of todayís agriculture. Furthermore, a mechanical harvest removes the backbreaking work currently involved in reaping specialty crops such as fruit and vegetables.
(MIT Precision Agriculture robot gardeners action video)
When I first saw this, I thought about the servok used in the Conservatory from Dune:
Something rustled in the greenery. She tensed, then glimpsed a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.
SF fans might also recall the somewhat more autonomous robot crab from Neuromancer:
A gardener, a thing like a large metal crab, was tending the bamboo...
The robot crab moved toward them, picking its way over the waves of gravel. Its bronze carapace might have been a thousand years old. When it was within a meter of her boots, it fired a burst of light, then froze for an instant, analyzing data obtained...
I think Philip K. Dick also mentioned a robot gardener in his 1955 short story War Veteran.
There is one thing that is typical of the roboticist's approach to this real-world problem - there are no garden pests in this perfect garden. That's why they need the agricultural pest controller from Michael Crichton's movie Runaway.
(Agbot emerges from the stalks)
Update 31-Mar-2009: Fans of the 1972 movie Silent Running will also remember (as Winchell Chung did) that Bruce Dern took tended his garden with the help of robots.
(Gardening robots from Silent Running)
From Precision Agriculture.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/13/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Once A Jolly Swagbot Camped By A Billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree.
Rowbot Small Autonomous Farm Robot
'...The tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.' - Larry Niven, 1966.
Vertical Farms? Still Waiting, But Concepts Abound
'Stacked up to the sky...' - Pohl and Kornbluth, 1951.
Ladybird Agricultural Robot Is Solar-Powered
'A robot gardener worked over the same patch of grass again and again...'- Philip K Dick, 1955.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.
Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'
NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.
Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.
RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories