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.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories