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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Agricultural Robot Pest Controller  
  An agricultural robot specifically designed to perform pest control activities.  

At the start of the movie Runaway, Jack Ramsay and his new partner are called in to work with an agricultural robot that is out of control and zigzagging around in a corn field.

He gets the lowdown from his staff.


(Agbot emerges from the stalks)

"What's the model? 7799 agricultural?"

"Got yourself a runaway, Jack?"

"...pest controller. The CPU is an old 8088."

"Any armament?"

"Just the claw. And it's only programmed to look for things smaller than an inch."

Technovelgy from Runaway, by Michael Crichton.
Published by Tri-Star Pictures in 1985
Additional resources -

This movie agro-bot (or just agbot) has a very nicely programmed sense of touch; it can pick a larva off a leaf easily.


(Agro-bot performs pest control)

It turns out that Crichton or his special effects guys must have been paying attention to the robotics news. The first intelligent agricultural robot (as opposed to farm machinery) was tested in use for tomato harvesting in Tampa, Florida in 1983.

Read these related stories; AgBots: Agricultural Robots Take The Field and Robotic Tomato Harvester Ready For Space. Take a look at an interesting journal article on Agro-Robotics here; it includes a set of links to some interesting papers.

Compare to the automatic cultivators from Piracy Preferred (1930) by John W. Campbell, the conscious farm machines from The Hidden Colony (1935) by Otfrid von Hanstein, the robot farmer from The Turning Wheel (1954) by Philip K. Dick, the field minder from Who Can Replace A Man (1963) by Brian Aldiss, the Robomule from Bill the Galactic Hero (1965) by Harry Harrison, the self-guided tractor from At the Bottom of a Hole (1966) by Larry Niven and the robot crab from Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Runaway
  More Ideas and Technology by Michael Crichton
  Tech news articles related to Runaway
  Tech news articles related to works by Michael Crichton

Agricultural Robot Pest Controller-related news articles:
  - HortiBot - Autonomous Weed 'n Feed AgBot
  - Lettuce-Bot Weed-Killing Robot Funded
  - Promobot, The Runaway Russian Robot!
  - Autonomous Oz Weeding Robot
  - Tiny Tertill Autonomous Weeding Robot

Articles related to Agriculture
MK-V Smart Tractor - Fully Electric, Farmer Optional
Vertical Farm In Singapore's Output Is 1.5 Tons Per Day
Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead

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