Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Farming

The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of ...

Italian design office Studiomobile has teamed up with the University of Florence's Professor Stefano Mancuso, who is the director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, to produce a prototype floating greenhouse in a bid to improve food security in areas with little arable land. The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own clean water via an onboard system of solar distillation.  Read More

Aprilli Design Studio has created a concept for an Urban Skyfarm

Two problems caused by increasing overpopulation in cities are how to use space productively and how to feed everyone. A new concept design suggests a means of addressing both these issues. Aprilli Design Studio's Urban Skyfarm is a tree-like skyscraper that provides space for crop farming.  Read More

'Ladybird' is an autonomous farm robot capable of conducting mobile monitoring of a variet...

Ladybirds are happily welcomed by gardeners into their yards, knowing that they will consume the most prolific plant pests like white flies, mites, and aphids. Imagine, then, how useful an autonomous, solar-powered, intelligent robotic ladybird could be on a farm. Enter the University of Sydney’s "Ladybird," not actually an eater of insect pests, but a robot capable of conducting mobile farm reconnaissance, mapping, classification, and detection of problems for a variety of different crops.  Read More

Toshiba's factory will be isolated from the outside air and have tightly controlled air an...

Looking to take a bite out of the Japanese food market, electronics giant Toshiba has announced plans to construct a vegetable production factory in the city of Yokosuka. The factory will use tightly controlled air and lighting systems to optimize conditions for pesticide-free, indoor plant growth.  Read More

The new technique could allow corn to be grown in caves or on space colonies (Photo:  Ashl...

Scientists at Purdue University have come up with a way of growing corn in caves, but it doesn't involve some bizarre mating of maize and mushroom. Instead, they manipulated artificial light and temperature in such a way that the growth of the corn plants, while stunted, didn't significantly affect the seed yield. The finding could have a significant impact on the future of genetically modified crops by helping prevent genetically modified pollen escaping into the ecosystem.  Read More

A growing tray in the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) that is headed to the ISS (Phot...

The International Space Station (ISS) may be a remarkable piece of engineering, but it’s so drab that it needs a window box to brighten things up. That isn't possible in the vacuum of space, but NASA is doing the next best thing on Monday as it sends its Vegetable Production System (Veggie) to the space station aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission. However, this plant-growing chamber will be more than a horticultural experiment, it's also a bit more culinary as it lets astronauts put fresh salad on the menu.  Read More

WaterBee demonstration at Castelldefels, Barcelona

With robots doing everything from milking cows to crop dusting, farming has come a long way since they days of plodding along behind a horse and plow. Irrigation practices are also benefiting from advances in technology. The large-scale WaterBee smart irrigation and water management system is a case in point: it allows farmers use their smartphones to not only switch on the water where and when it’s needed, but also to get up to the minute information on field conditions.  Read More

Patch is a new self-watering herb planter seeking funding on Kickstarter

Patch Planter isn't the first self-watering herb planter to cross our radar: that would be the AeroGarden. But where that product was an all-singing, all-dancing "kitchen garden appliance," Patch is a much more down to earth and affordable piece of design, and one that doesn't require a power supply.  Read More

Artist's impression of the begreenhoused Whole Foods supermarket coming to New York (Video...

Whole Foods' next New York outlet looks set to become a supermarket with a difference. The supermarket chain will partner Gotham Greens to open a supermarket in Brooklyn sporting a 20,000 sq ft (1,860 sq m) rooftop greenhouse growing produce to be sold on the premises. "This project takes the discussion from food miles to food footsteps," said Gotham Greens Co-Founder, Viraj Puri.  Read More

Rather more terrestrial vegetables (Photo: sarsmis/Shutterstock)

According to China's state press agency, Xinhua, the country's Astronaut Research and Training Center has just perfected a system that can be used to grow vegetables in a closed system. The technology could be used to sustain astronauts with a source of food and oxygen in a possible future base on the Moon.  Read More

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