Remotely Operated Gardening Rover - Student's Space Agricultural Robot

University of Colorado students demonstrated their X-Hab (eXploration HABitat ) project at Kennedy's Space Station Processing Facility on June 23. They are developing a Distributed Remotely Operated Plant Production System, or DROPPS. It is a concept for producing edible plants during long-term missions to destinations such as Mars.


(Dane Larsen checks the forklift on ROGR)

The University of Colorado team's entry in the eXploration HABitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge is called "Plants Anywhere: Plants Growing in Free Habitat Spaces." Instead of an area set aside just for vegetation, the approach calls for plants to be distributed in any available space in a deep-space habitat.

The X-Hab challenge is a university-level project designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The competition is intended to link student design projects with senior- and graduate-level curricula that emphasize hands-on design, research, development, and manufacture of functional prototype subsystems that could be used in extraterrestrial habitats and during deep-space exploration missions.

In their new system, a Remotely Operated Gardening Rover, or ROGR, travels around the habitat tending to a fleet of SmartPots, or SPOTS, which would be distributed throughout the deep-space habitat's living space.

The SPOTS facilitate plants growing in a small, custom- designed hydroponic growth chamber with computerized systems to monitor the vegetation's progress. Each has its own sensor run by an embedded computer.

"We envision dozens of SPOTS on a space habitat," said Dane Larsen who is working on a master's degree on computer science. "Telemetry in each SPOT provides data on plant condition to a computer display."

The robots and plants are networked together, and the SPOTS have the ability to monitor their fruit's or vegetables' soil humidity and issue watering requests.

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.

Robot gardeners are autonomous sometimes in science fiction, like the 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.

Fans of the 1972 movie Silent Running will also remember that Bruce Dern took tended his garden with the help of robots.

"It calls back a time when there were flowers all over the Earth... and there were valleys. And there were plains of tall green grass that you could lie down in - you could go to sleep in. And there were blue skies, and there was fresh air... and there were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space."


(Gardening robots from Silent Running)

Via Students Developing Robotic Gardening Technology; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/7/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Food ")

Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Bottoms up!

China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...' - Anthony Boucher, 1943

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'

Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Bottoms up!

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.

Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
'...a man carried a white rectangular sign, blank on both sides.'

Bitcoin Surges Again, To $7,000
'... electronic, private cash, unbacked by any government, untraceable, completely anonymous.'

China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'

North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick
'Your Dip digs back into antiquity. Rome. Greece. Dust and old volumes.'

Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.'

Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...'

Elon Musk Foretells Tesla Sans Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

Adversarial Patches Trick Computer Vision
'The surveillance cameras can all see it, but then they forget they’ve seen it.'

Amazon Warehouse Computer Can Fire People Now
'The system has already fired five people...'

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.