Future of Agriculture technology

Robo-Farmers technology will 

change the face of agriculture


Agriculture has always been about man, says David Dorhout, but man is now the limiting factor in agriculture. The future of agriculture is not about obtaining more efficiency from each farmer: the human farmer has already been quite optimized by technology. Rather, the future is about getting more production from each area of ​​farmland. The future, in other words, is Prospero, the Dourhout fleet, swarm and theory of autonomous robot games.

Prospero is a prototype of the largest and most unique robotic organism in which Dorhout is working in his spare time (he is a professional entomologist and hobby robot, which makes him very good in his hobby). At this time, it has a small fleet of six-legged robots that can work together to improve the planting of a specific terrain using swarm technology and software game theory. Through infrared, the robots communicate with each other, marking places that have already been planted and signaled when help is needed to plant a particular plot.

The result is a system that can optimize things like seed spacing and remember where each individual seed is planted. You can also make very good decisions about when and where to plant seeds based on different types of soil, even within the same field. It is essentially a fully customizable seed planting foot by foot, Dorhout told Discovery News.

In addition, Prospero is simple. By avoiding high-density data systems such as GPS, Dorhout designed the robots. Following the model of ants, which mark the places of interest (read: food) with pheromones so that other ants can find them, they will design their robots to mark the planted seeds with an injection of white spray paint that changes the reflectivity of the soil around of the site. Other robots record this change in reflectivity, which allows them to see each seed in the field.

Prospero is just the beginning, says Dorhout. He wants to build a robot that can plant, maintain and harvest a complete crop autonomously, which is more important, in the most efficient way possible. Agricultural robots could work throughout the day to help maintain a field in optimal conditions, fight pests and other invasive plants without chemicals and increase crop yield and health. Your six-legged robo-farmer is the first step.

Today's farmers face many challenges: an aging workforce, a shortage of low-cost labor, environmental risks and climate change, to name just a few, says Jordan Berg, program director of the National Science Foundation for his initiative Future of Work, which supports research "at the intersection of future work, technology and workers". And for every problem there seems to be a robot or robotic device in process to solve it.

"It gives [farmers] permission to be creative, the ability to be creative with their teams," says Berg. "It allows farmers to regain ownership of their own technology."

In this agricultural revolution, there are many amazing devices to amaze and thrill. Here are just five different types of robotics in development or already working hard in the fields

- Fruit pickers:


Fruit picker
The traditional view of robots is that they are clumsy and bulky, certainly not agile enough to gently pluck a strawberry from its stem, right? However, that is exactly what the Rubion robot of the Belgian company Octinion can do. Strawberry plants continue to produce berries throughout the growing season, but currently, there are not enough workers to continually pick up every berry that each plant produces. Usually, as Nell Lewis reports to CNN, a farmer can hire workers to clean the field once, letting any fruit that has matured before or after that time rot in the fields.





- Weed extractors:

Weed extractorsIn the perfect world of a farmer, there would be no weeds. Before the 1900s, weeds were approached with plowing or tillage, Liebhold explains. But plowing releases carbon dioxide into the air, increases soil erosion and requires more fertilizer. Currently, agriculture without tillage, or the non-alteration of the soil through tillage, is gaining popularity, but that means that the use of herbicides is increasing rapidly. With greater use of herbicides, more weeds become resistant to chemicals
.

- LiDAR for agricultural fields:

LiDAR for agricultural fields

In the perfect world of a farmer, there would be no weeds. Before the 1900s, weeds were approached with plowing or tillage, Liebhold explains. But plowing releases carbon dioxide into the air, increases soil erosion and requires more fertilizer. Currently, agriculture without tillage, or the non-alteration of the soil through tillage, is gaining popularity, but that means that the use of herbicides is increasing rapidly. With greater use of herbicides, more weeds become resistant to chemicals.


- Drones:


In terms of "disruptive technology" that can change agriculture, Liebhold puts drone technology on par with the 1918 invention of the Waterloo Boy tractor, which drove agriculture away from the days of horses and plows in the past.
Eventually, pulling horses replaces labor, gasoline replaces pulling horses, and today's edge is the drone, ”says Liebhold.

Drones for framing

Drones are not a particularly new technology at this time; They have been used commercially since the early 1980s. Nor are they exactly new in agriculture, as they have been used to capture aerial photographs of fields for years. However, agriculture has quickly become a pioneer space to develop new applications for unmanned aerial vehicles. The main uses of drones at this time include 3D images, map construction and crop monitoring.


- Agricultural Exoskeletons



Agricultural Exoskeletons


Some, including the US Department of Agriculture. UU., They say that farmers are superheroes, but those heroes are getting older. The average age of a farmer is now 50 to 58 years, according to the 2012 USDA agriculture census. This aged workforce is a major problem, especially in small and medium-sized farms, as is the lack of a generational flow of labor that the industry once had. Scientists are tackling the problem with a solution certainly suitable for a superhero: portable exoskeletons or super suits.

A team of Virginia Tech engineers is working on lightweight and easy-to-use exosuits that relieve pressure on a farmer's knees and back, reports Erica Corder for Virginia Tech Engineer magazine. Another group from the university is creating a robotic glove to help farmers with arthritis. The hope is that farmers use technology when they say, in their 50s, so they can age less painfully until they are 60 and retire, explains Virginia Tech engineer Alexander Leonessa in a press release.

"These devices will be something that farmers will use to accomplish their daily tasks in a more comfortable way," Leonessa said. “Many of our older farmers have age-related problems, such as arthritis, and by providing this technology we can ensure that they can complete their tasks. The goal is not for farmers to work until they are 90 years old, but to allow them to work with less fatigue and to continue doing what they like while staying healthy. ”

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