Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FarmTech: From Guitar Hero to Agrobotics (plus Tarzan and Plowborgs)

From Agrimoney:
From Guitar Hero to agrobotics - technology is writing farming's future
What have Guitar Hero World Tour, Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 and Clash of Ninja Revolution got to do with agriculture?
More than you might think.
For the technology that has made possible the development of Wii video games, which respond to the physical actions of players, has applications in farming too, for instance in tracking the movements of dairy cattle, and promoting milk productivity.

Game theory
"The hand-held Wii, there is a gyroscope in there," says Calum Murray, ‎head of agriculture and food at Innovate UK, a UK government agency which works with the likes of universities and companies to promote technological progress.

Attach a similar gizmo to a dairy cow, and it will "help understand the behaviour" of the animal.

"If an animal is in heat or sick, you are going know, because it is behaving differently than it would normally.
"Using a gyroscope to monitor that behaviour, and telemetry to send it back to the farm, you will realise she needs attention."
And this is only one example of the kind of technological advances which could be applied to agriculture, with developments in robotics, for instance, raising the potential for "greater use of robots in the field" for arable farmers, Mr Murray says.
This apart from the likes of the precision agriculture breakthroughs promising better-targeted use of crop inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides – to the benefit of the environment as well as farm costs.
For livestock farmers, Mr Murray highlights the potential for advances in breeding technology to accelerate genetic improvement "to benefit health, welfare and productivity".
Lost years
If such possibilities are whetting farmers' appetites, well, maybe they should.
"These are exciting times to be involved," says Mr Murray, who is speaking at Agrimoney LIVE next month....MUCH MORE

Related, from Motherboard:

Watch out for that tree
Farmers Could Have Teams of Tarzan Robots Swinging Around Their Fields in the Future
The king of the jungle is moving to the farm.
By 2050 there will be nearly 10 billion people on planet Earth. This means we'll need all the help we can get to make sure people get the food they need. Mechanical engineers at Georgia Tech think they've created just such a helper: a swinging two-limbed robot named Tarzan. You can see the little metal sloth swaying around in the video above.

In order to effectively grow enough food crops, it's important for farmers to have a consistent eye on them to gauge their health. And with large fields, it's a challenge to have enough manpower to do this. So the engineers designed Tarzan to live amongst the crops permanently. It hangs upside down on a wire above a crop row with two metal arms, and uses its own weight to swing forwards or backwards along the cable, reaching out and grabbing the wire hand over hand—er, claw over claw.

Its little body houses a camera that takes pictures of the crops, which can then be sent back to a farmer in real time for assessment....MORE
Out Here In the Fields: AgroRobots
Future Farming: Big Data, Robots, The Usual
Answering the Question: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" 
Another Day, Another 3D Printing, Robotic Harvesting, Internet-of-Things FarmBot  
Agricultural Robot Market Anticipated to Grow From $817 million in 2013 $16.3 billion in 2020
"Meet the robots changing modern farming: Prospero, Aquarius and SW 6010"  
Your Climateer early warning system was on top of the trend in 2012:

It's All Coming Together: The $210,000 Cow Miking Robot (can the dream of plowborgs be far behind?)
We got us our own little singularity, right here at Climateer Investing.
Robotics, agriculture and energy.
Having looked at the melding of terrestrial agriculture and robots on the most basic levels, GPS guided harvesters and Monsanto's genetically engineered 'Frankenfarmers':
Boise, ID GM plowborg Jed Kleebert.

We moved on to the aquatic world with "Sea Robots Farm Algae for Fuel", combining robotics and energy carriers:
"Yup, I used to raise corn for ethanol. But then the topsoil blew away and I couldn't even get enough juice to run my tractor or get drunk on Saturday. Then this stranger came to town. Ordered something called a 'la-tay' and called himself a 'vee-cee.' Said he'd give me $20 million to come to Californee and herd algae. So we packed up our furniture in his little toy car and came west. Now I've got a regular bonanza of the slimy critters and the kids got shoes. Hain't looked over my shoulder back east since."
-from our post "Algaen Gothic"  

And now we circle back to the land-based stuff....
(and apologize to the Grant Wood estate)