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Farming

Robotics

"Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm

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 expands to food production with indoor vegetable factory

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

Science

Purdue researchers pursue cave corn

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

Space

Astronauts to get green thumbs with NASA sending veggie garden to the ISS

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

Environment

WaterBee puts crop irrigation on a smartphone

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

Architecture

Supermarket with rooftop greenhouse to sell über-local produce

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

Space

Chinese astronauts prepare to grow vegetables on the Moon

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

Around The Home

Hanging grow box heads for commercial availability

It may be renowned worldwide as the city of romance and revered for its beautiful architecture and art but with over 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, Paris is also a very crowded place to live. Parisians who want a steady supply of home-grown greens may turn to window boxes, balconies and small-scale vertical farms (like Window Farms perhaps) for help, but where space is a premium such luxuries might not be possible. Local designers Barreau & Charbonnet have come up with a hanging window garden named Volet végétal in which plant containers are raised and lowered on a pulley system rigged up to the outside of an apartment window. Read More

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