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MIT Demonstrates Robotic Gardening Techniques

By: Katie Cordrey - Published: Apr 26, 2009   Updated: Aug 16 2011 • References: freshplaza and thejakartapost
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a demonstration agri-robot in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory on the school's Cambridge campus. The $3,000 robots can provide water, gather the harvest and provide pollination to cherry tomato plants.

Using a base similar to the Roomba vacuum, the small robots are networked to the plants. If the plants signal that they need water, the robots sprinkle them from a water pump. If a tomato ripens, the machines pluck the fruit with mechanical arms.

Implications - The hope behind the project is that robots can give plants the proper nutrients from pesticides to fertilizers and water, when necessary, and avoid some of the major damage that is attributable to agriculture and mass spreading.