Meet your robot gardener


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/12/meet-your-robot-gardener.html


#2

Love it. Does it come with fickin' Lazer Beams to eliminate insect predators??


#3

In my capacity as not-a-lawyer-or-your-lawyer I'd advise you to be very careful with anything that has Intellectual Ventures' fingerprints on it; but their mosquito-terminating laser is pretty nifty.

I imagine that, in the gardening case, the real challenge would be getting line of sight to all the various leaf surfaces; both for the tracking camera and to avoid shooting little laser holes in any leaves that block access to the target. Conventional diode lasers of no particular merit are now powerful enough to be lethal to insects however, so if you can get an ID and a clear shot it'd be pretty doable.


#4

Neat. Will I tear up a little when Bruce Dern is ordered to abandon it, leaving his robots behind to tend it? Does it come with an awful Joan Baez soundtrack? And do I have any topical references?


#5

Meet my robot gardener...

...and he plays poker.


#6

Jinx !


#7

Ha!

(plus these bonus characters to make up the postable minimum.)


#8

This is cute, but ludicrous.

The idea that you need a $3000 robot to grow a small garden is beyond absurd.

I like it, but it's incrasingly annoying to see IoT devices which tell you when to water your plants.

If you're not skilled enough to plant and water a garden, you're not going to be smart enough to maintain this robot, much less troubleshoot other garden problems.

I love the effort, I just wish it was put into something actually useful instead of this absurdity.


#9

NPR did a story, probably >10 years ago now, called the $300 tomato (I'm sure I have the amount wrong, but the sentiment stands) that spoke of the absurd expense of gardening for food production. They might have to revisit the story now and retitle it the $3000 tomato.


#10

I was thinking just enough power to damage the wings. Or even one wing, so the little bastards just fly in a descending spiral to the floor and crawl around not eating the tops of my plants.


#11

Good point! But it would be cool if the thing works well.


#12

. . .tell me more about the weeding.


#13

Uh.

See that plot of land they have there in the video? Now imagine that 1,000 ft long.

This is the beginning, not the end.

The hilarious thing is they are trying to take down the industrial agricultural complex and they'll probably end up improving the industrial agricultural complex instead.


#14

Um, you get another robot to that. Duh.

:wink:


#15

I suspect that that could be arranged: if relatively low power directed energy weapons have one virtue, it's that they are easy to steer and even the most swat-proof flies aren't going to be dodging photons any time soon. And while chitin has many impressive virtues as a material, heat dissipation isn't one of them.


#16

Does it grab rabbits and hurl them over the fence?


#17

It's a bad idea whose time has come....
Cost/benefit for any gardener? Well, you'd need more money than brains. It also doesn't address what makes gardening challenging. Critters, diseases, the weed killing fixture being ridiculous, and the problem of replanting in the same bed year after year.
It would probably work pretty cool in an industrial farm type environment, with lots of chemical inputs to keep problems at bay. As an "innovative home solution", not so practical.
Disruptive scale from 1-10, 10 being useful:
...zilch.


#18

1000 ft! That's almost 1/10th of an acre!

Just imagine!


#19

I'm not sure it would even make sense industrially. I mean, we already have farm machinery. These guys are amazed they've built a machine that can plant what, 50 seeds? In how long? An hour? Combined with a precision water sprinkler, which makes little sense in a garden bed (diffusion, have you heard of it?) and some kind of weird weed smasher that I'm convinced about.

I'd gladly get one of these for research into plant community ecology, but farming? No.

Actually I've noticed a lot of books, machines, sensors, etc. lately which seem to promote the misconception that having a small garden is something very difficult and expensive. I've grown more tomatoes than I can eat in used cat-litter buckets on my back porch.

I'm starting to think I should write my own blog post.


#20

So, write the damn thing already! And you obviously need to eat more tomatoes.