Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons
ADVERTISEMENT

Farming

Keeping track of crop health is an overwhelmingly tough ask for farmers, and things are only likely to get tougher with predictions of huge yield drop-offs in the coming decades. With a freshly-inked US$100,000 cheque tucked under its arm courtesy of MIT, startup RaptorMaps plans to get crop-mapping drones into the air this summer to better track their health and give farmers' harvests a boost.

Read More
In hot, dry areas of the world, collecting enough rainwater to grow crops can be difficult. Another potential source of water for collection, however, can be dew. Roots Up has designed a greenhouse to collect dew in Gondar, Ethiopia, as part of a scheme to help local farmers with low-tech solutions. Read More
Ensuring that the food we eat is locally and sustainably grown is not always easy, especially in cities where crop-growing space is at a premium. Firms like Freight Farms and Cropbox, however, have a solution to this problem. They offer shipping containers that are kitted out as self-contained farms. Read More
Among the oft-cited benefits of urban farming are improved food security and production sustainability. According to Spark Architects, its Homefarm part retirement home, part retiree-run urban farm concept would achieve not only these, but improved health and community spirit among Singapore seniors. Read More
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
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
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

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

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
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
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT