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This Army of AI Robots Will Feed the World
Heraud researched the scourges of agriculture: hypoxic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Baltic Sea, the colony collapse of bees, soil degradation, and human health problems from allergies to cancers. “Everything tied back to the blind, rampant, broadcast spraying of chemicals,” Heraud says. He and Redden figured they could teach machines to differentiate between crops and weeds, then eliminate the weeds mechanically or with targeted doses of nontoxic substances. The two first considered hot foam, laser beams, electric currents, and boiling water. They’d market the robot to organic farmers, who spend heavily on chemical-free weeding methods including mechanical tillage, which can be both fuel-intensive and damaging to soil.

After months of research, they faced a disappointing truth: There was no way around herbicides. “Turns out zapping weeds with electricity or hot liquid requires far more time and energy than chemicals—and it isn’t guaranteed to work,” Heraud says. Those methods might eliminate the visible part of a weed, but not the root. And pulling weeds with mechanical pincers is a far more time-intensive task for a robot than delivering microsquirts of poison. Their challenge became applying the chemicals with precision.
Bloomberg  food  LettuceBot  automation  AI  robotics  Agriculture  2018 
8 hours ago by zzkt
Alli Nilles
Research Interests: High level, formal modelling and control of robots. I'm interested in fundamentals: what is a robot? How can we formalize robotic tasks, and decide and synthesize robot designs (hardware, controllers, and filters) capable of completing those tasks with minimal resources? I often use dynamical systems approaches, and am becoming increasingly more interested in discrete and conformal geometry (along with other property-preserving transformations) and topology.
yesterday by tonyyet
RT : I'll wait to buy the next version when the suitcase can carry ME too! 😜
IoT  tech  AI  robotics  lazy  from twitter
4 days ago by kyosha

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