Robotic Farming

Prospero

Earlier this year we told you about a neat project called Prosperso by David Dorhout.  Prospero is the first phase of a robotic swarm project to grow and harvest food.  Prospero is controlled using a Parallax Propeller chip and 2 Ping sensors to help it avoid objects.

Well, the project has progressed and in the video below it explains how man is the limiting factor in food production.  It is very costly to have humans grow food and someday the planet’s population will outpace our ability to grow enough food.

More about the overall concept is also explained, including the 4 steps involved.  The first three steps are 1. Planter, 2. Tender, 3. Harvester. Step four is the other three steps combined into one intelligent robot.

David’s website explains the concept:

Prospero is the working prototype of an Autonomous Micro Planter (AMP) that uses a combination of swarm and game theory and is the first of four steps. It is meant to be deployed as a group or “swarm”. The other three steps involve autonomous robots that tend the crops, harvest them, and finally one robot that can plant, tend, and harvest–autonomously transitioning from one phase to another.

I’m not sure if I like the idea of robots involved in our food supply chain, but this is a really neat project.

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