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Bioastronautics And The New Robotic Space Gardeners

Harvesting the earth’s bounty, especially plants, goes back to the beginning of human history. The vast majority of humans that ever lived spent a significant amount of time on their hands and knees digging in the earth planting seeds, tending growing plants and harvesting them.┬áNow robots, the new gardeners, are being trained to tend cherry tomatoes, pick oranges, and even pollinate plants.

Some of the projects to create “robotic farmers” are funded by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in an effort to determine how a system of robotic farms can help astronauts in the future, some of whom, it seems inevitable, will colonize nearby planets.

Robotic gardeners help plants in many ways from helping move or tilt them so that plants receive the best exposure to sunlight and watering plants as soon as they need it. These actions are carried out through the use of optical, acoustic and image processing algorithms.

At MIT Professor Daniela Rus of the Distributed Robotics Lab and students have created an urban indoor garden of plants that are cared for by a swarm of robots. The robots use the Roomba robotic floor cleaner as the platform for these new agricultural workers with eyes, arms and sensors attached to the top.

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This entry was posted on July 25th, 2014 and is filed under Uncategorized. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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