Cultibotics
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Farming Today 14/01/2013: interview Simon Blackmore | BBC Radio 4

Farming Today 14/01/2013: interview Simon Blackmore | BBC Radio 4 | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Farming Today takes a glimpse into a future which could have tractors driving themselves and robots pulling weeds. Anna Hill talks to a leading authority on precision farming, Professor Simon Blackmore, about the role technology could play in improving food security.”

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Cultibotics
Cultibotics is about applying robotics to making horticultural best practices scalable and economical.
Curated by John Payne
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[In maize-beans-squash polyculture] Is automated harvest even possible? | Invironment

[In maize-beans-squash polyculture] Is automated harvest even possible? | Invironment | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
”Maybe there’s a way to organize your plantings such that a machine could pass through… But a top cut on your corn is going to be complicated because stalks don’t always have a regular height. Once you’ve top cut your corn, what do you do for the beans? Perhaps another pass through with a low cut, but your bean processing will now have to deal with corn stalks. Perhaps your third pass will be your squash harvester which could finally just roll through and catch everything that’s left.”
John Payne's insight:
The primary constraint here is that imposed by the use of large, heavy, expensive equipment, that must move across the ground relatively quickly (so it's cost can be spread over a large area) to be economically reasonable.
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Tim O'Reilly on Using Tech to Do Things That Were Previously Impossible (1/3) | Reinvent

Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, talks about using tech to do things that were previously impossible. Part 1/3. Watch Part 2 here
John Payne's insight:
One point he makes: "Technology is destroying jobs, but only because we have told it to do so."
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Di-Wheel Concept | Australian Centre for Field Robotics

Video demonstration of the di-wheel concept for agricultural use
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Eric Larson's curator insight, August 21, 10:44 AM
Interesting invention?
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RobotsPodcast is now on SoundCloud

Listen to RobotsPodcast | SoundCloud is an audio platform that lets you listen to what you love and share the sounds you create.. 3 Tracks. 11 Followers. Stream Tracks and Playlists from RobotsPodcast on your desktop or mobile device.
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Researchers trick Tesla Model S AutoPilot | Autoblog

Researchers trick Tesla Model S AutoPilot | Autoblog | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“A team of researchers from the University of South Carolina, Zhejiang University in China, and Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 has found a potential fault in Tesla's AutoPilot semi-autonomous driving system. The team was able to exploit weaknesses in the system that lead researcher and USC Professor Wenyuan Xu said "highly motivated people" could use "to cause personal damage or property damage."”

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Roborace reveals what's under the skin of its enigmatic self-driving race car | New Atlas

Roborace reveals what's under the skin of its enigmatic self-driving race car | New Atlas | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Anyone who thinks racing is all about the drivers is in for a rude shock. Roborace will run alongside Formula E, but details about how the cars would actually work have been hard to come by. Now, we finally have a bit more info about what will make it tick.
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Machine Learning is Fun! : The world’s easiest introduction to Machine Learning | Medium

Machine Learning is Fun! : The world’s easiest introduction to Machine Learning | Medium | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
“This guide is for anyone who is curious about machine learning but has no idea where to start. I imagine there are a lot of people who tried reading the wikipedia article, got frustrated and gave up wishing someone would just give them a high-level explanation. That’s what this is.”
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iCub performing highly dynamic Tai Chi while interacting with humans

“This video shows the latest results on the whole-body control of humanoid robots achieved by the Dynamic Interaction Control Lab at the Italian Institute of Technology. The control of the robot is achieved by regulating the interaction forces between the robot and its surrounding environment. The force and torque exchanged between the robot's feet and the floor is regulated so that the robot keeps its balance even when strongly perturbed.”

John Payne's insight:
Purists might complain that what's shown isn't recognizably Tai Chi, to which I'd add "yet".  If iCub can do this, how much harder could it be to get it to do a nearly perfect long form?
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What would it take to mainstream “alternative” agriculture? | Ensia

What would it take to mainstream “alternative” agriculture? | Ensia | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Innovative food systems such as agroecology can become the norm if we weave a web of legitimacy from science, politics, society and values.
John Payne's insight:
While not a substitute to the paths to legitimacy described in this article, there are a couple of others I believe to be important: the leverage that can be provided by automation, and the influence of a powerful ally that stands to profit from making that automation available. I'm referring to the agricultural equipment industry, which, if it were to embrace the full potential of robotics to enable better agricultural practices, could both accelerate the adoption of those practices and profit handsomely from doing so.
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Milking Cows with Lasers and Robots | Science Channel

“Our favorite part of visiting a farm is seeing all the droids and lasers! These advanced cow milking machines have simplified the process for farmers and their cattle.”

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Robotics for Gardening and Farming: A Guide to Two Recent Series | Cultibotics

Over the past weeks, I've written two series of posts, the first titled "Biological Agriculture for Roboticists" and the second "Robotics for Gardeners and Farmers", with the intention of helping to bridge the gap between these occupations and those engaged in them. What appears below is a table of contents for those series.
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FarmBot reaches $100,000 pre-order goal, pre-order discount still available through July | FarmBot.io

FarmBot reaches $100,000 pre-order goal, pre-order discount still available through July | FarmBot.io | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
“While we've now reached our goal, our campaign is still going until the end of the month. Want to be one of the first people to get a FarmBot kit? Make sure to place your pre-order during July to save 25% off MSRP. Once we wrap up the campaign we'll begin ordering components and putting together all the kits. Any orders received after this month will likely not ship until much later than the first batch, so don't miss out!”
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Why collaboration between ag equipment and tech companies is a good thing for the environment | Environmental Defense Fund

Why collaboration between ag equipment and tech companies is a good thing for the environment | Environmental Defense Fund | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“In order for the agriculture sector to deliver on the growing demand for sustainable grain and participate in emerging carbon markets, growers need a way to demonstrate that their management practices are benefiting the environment.”

John Payne's insight:
This may be a case where getting information into the machine arrives sooner than technologies for acting upon that information at an appropriate scale. In agriculture, the piece of the puzzle which is latest to arrive may well prove to be actuation — the capability to manipulate large numbers of plants at a fine level of detail quickly enough to be useful.
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Apocalyptic Photos Show How Factory Farming is Destroying The American Landscape | Inhabitat

Apocalyptic Photos Show How Factory Farming is Destroying The American Landscape | Inhabitat | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
The images, discovered by Henner while researching satellite photographs of oil fields, look like post-apocalyptic wastelands.
John Payne's insight:
Pointing the finger at "factory farming" is slightly off the mark. The problem lies with farming methods, methods which are about as likely to be practiced on a family farm as on a corporate farm, and which have pre-historical origins. To date, technology has mostly served to accelerate the damage, but technology may also provide the means to halt and begin to reverse that damage.
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How agribusiness can avoid the mistakes of clean tech | SSIR

Promising practices for corporates, investors, and entrepreneurs to drive long-term innovation and avoid an investment bust.
John Payne's insight:
This is an irreducibly complex look at a very complex tangle of realities, involving everybody from potential corporate investors with existing ag-related businesses to protect, to sustainability-motivated entrepreneurs, to typically conservative farmers, to consumers who have been voting with their dollars for food that more closely resembles its natural state.
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What Google has learned from 1.7 million miles of vehicle operation | Backchannel

What Google has learned from 1.7 million miles of vehicle operation | Backchannel | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
After 1.7 million miles we’ve learned a lot — not just about our system but how humans drive, too.
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The Sewing Robot (Episode 715) | Planet Money

The Sewing Robot (Episode 715) | Planet Money | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Building a robot that can sew even simple clothes is surprisingly hard. A retired professor in Atlanta thinks he's solved the problem. It could bring clothing manufacturing back to America.
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Government initiative gives Google the go-ahead to test delivery drones in the US | New Atlas

Government initiative gives Google the go-ahead to test delivery drones in the US | New Atlas | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
There's still some way to go before US laws allow the kind of delivery service Amazon imagines, but a new initiative from the federal government is promising to speed things up and allow Google to test its delivery drones in the US.
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FarmBot.io completes Genesis launch with more than eight times original goal

Taking pre-orders at a discounted price through the month of July, they set out with a goal of $100,000 in sales, but have left that far behind, with $813,235 in pre-orders at the stroke of midnight. https://farmbot.io #farmbot
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Agroecology can help fix our broken food system. Here’s how. | Ensia

Agroecology can help fix our broken food system. Here’s how. | Ensia | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“In short, there’s a systems problem with the many incarnations of ‘sustainable food.’ Good intentions notwithstanding, most alternatives leave untouched the underlying structures and forces of the agri-food system. They don’t ask how farmers can listen to their land, scientists can listen to farmers, eaters can listen to restaurant workers and the government can listen to people’s needs. Sustainable food, it turns out, lacks a science with which to deal with a system as complex as farming and food. But there is an approach that embraces complexity and change. It involves developing the capacity to listen, to grow new connections, and to build solidarity among animals, plants and people. It’s called agroecology.”

John Payne's insight:
Perhaps the most important contribution robotics can make to enabling better land management and food production practices is in the realm of data collection, building a strong foundation upon which to build a true science of sustainable methods.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, August 21, 10:42 AM
Fix the broken food system?
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LiDAR to shed light on pedestrian footfall | Gizmag

LiDAR to shed light on pedestrian footfall | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
A new Ford and MIT research project is aimed at improving ride-hailing services by predicting the movement of pedestrians. LiDAR sensors and cameras will be used to identify pedestrians and their movements around a location, allowing vehicles to be dispatched to areas that are predicted hot-spots.
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US Army welcomes tethered drones into its unmanned aerial fleet | Gizmag

US Army welcomes tethered drones into its unmanned aerial fleet | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Lately the US Army has been exploring tethered versions that could help plug some holes in its military strategy, and has now placed an order with drone-maker CyPhy Works for a wired aerial vehicle that could provide an eye in the sky for days at a time.​
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UK power station demolished by an international team … of robots | Gizmag

UK power station demolished by an international team … of robots | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
​A power station in the UK county of Oxfordshire was demolished on July 17. Following the tragic death of four workers on the site, the location was deemed too dangerous for the project to continue as normal, leading the team to turn to a series of robotic workers to get the job done.
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Cultibotics: Robotics for Gardeners and Farmers, Part 6

“Imagine you're a newborn tree squirrel, nearly devoid of usable senses, that somehow fell from the nest but survived the fall. Without sensory hardware or some other source of information about its environment, this is essentially the situation faced by any computing device, except that it doesn't experience distress; it just runs code.”
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TED talk by Emma Marris

“The reason I believe her vision and my own are complementary is that devices using cultivation techniques sufficiently meticulous and noninvasive to enable mechanization of intensive polycultures could also allow some selective wildness (something other than aggressive and/or noxious weeds) back onto land used for production, intermixed with crops grown for harvest.”
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