Robot Gardener

Conceived by Nikolaus Correll, the project is being designed to use computerized link-up and sensors to potted plants, so that the plants themselves divulge when nutrients and water are needed, or when fruit is produced. The autonomous gardener robot is equipped with a dexterous arm complete with camera, a „hand“ (two opposing pads) and a watering pump to tend the plants, while soil sensing and networking components are attached to the plants themselves. The bot will be also able to distinguish and pick ripe produce, water or pollinate the plants. The aim in the long term is to develop a fully functional automated green house using the robotic system referred to by Rus as precision agriculture. If costs could be minimized and the system utilized in main stream primary production this approach could impact the way certain crops are cultivated and harvested by reducing the resources used in the growth stage, as nutrients and water would only be dispensed when needed. According to CSAIL, this would greatly benefit both the environment due to the heavy burden placed on resources by the production of such specialized crops, and the pocket of the grower. The manually intensive labor would also be an issue of the past.

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Original sources:
http://www.gizmag.com/robotics-sustainable-precision-agriculture/11326/
http://robohub.org/air-water-energy-and-food-in-a-nutshell-space-exploration-as-driver-for-sustainable-robotic-agriculture/#more-22125

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