Robotic machinery has been revolutionized in the past decade. The constant demand for smaller electronic devices with more function for the consumer market now means robotics engineers have a huge variety of very small and powerful parts to work with. This coupled with the work of robotics within other industries has driven the robots of today to amazing levels. Whilst walking, talking robots were the dreams of sci-fi writers up to the 70’s and 80’s, today we are getting close with examples like Asimo. The amount and sheer diversity of robots small and large that are developed today means that a lot of great work is being done to develop the genus as a whole. Today, robots are involved in almost all manufacturing and preparation processes, and in a huge range of industries from fabrics to precision metal parts. There have been some amazing new mechanical inventions recently within the food production market, and here are just a few of them:
Strawberry Picking Robot
Developed by the Institute of Agricultural Machinery’s Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution in Japan, this machine is equipped with two cameras in order to give a 3D picture so it can identify strawberries in any weather, and even in the dark. It also contains software that identifies the proportion of red on the berry and the depth of the colour in order to assess the ripeness, then goes in and snips it off and deposits it in a tray. Despite taking nearly ten seconds to do each berry, the fact it can work 24/7 means it could cut harvesting times by over 35%.
Automated Lettuce Farm
Built using the Hortiplan automated systems, this lettuce farm in Belgium is totally automated. Through the system, seedlings are planted, then fed and watered to achieve optimal growth and finally deposited out the other end ready for harvest. It’s like a very slow conveyor growing perfect lettuces, and as it’s completely run by machine it’s amazingly efficient. The nutrient film technique and hydroponics used have existed for a while, and many systems like this now exist in industrial growing. They are certainly the farms of the future, and more and more crop up each day.
On a slightly sillier note, the MotoMan SDA10 has been designed to work alongside grill chefs all around the world, and is fully proficient in omelette cookery. It currently only makes Okonomiyaki – a Japanese omelette – but can easily be programmed to cook other things. Apparently it makes a great omelette, and looks great whilst doing so, it even shows off a bit!
About the Author