Scientists breed new rice variety with ion beam technology


by Zhang Nannan , Chinese Academy of Sciences

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The new rice variety Zhongkejing No. 5.

A research team led by Prof. WU Yuejin from the Institute of Intelligent Machines of the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) bred a rice variety with ion beam breeding technology.

The variety Zhongkejing No. 5, in which “Zhongke” means the Chinese Academy of Science in Chinese, was tailor-made for the advantageous production areas of glutinous ricein Anhui province. Characterized by early maturity, strong resistance, and high nitrogen fertilizer utilization efficiency, it has passed the regional appraisal test in Anhui province and received support from the local government.

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This coffee table’s sliding indoor garden is the ultimate millennial-friendly plant parenting hack

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Home gardening is difficult enough as it is, but it gets even trickier when you live in small city quarters. With city living’s and home gardening’s popularity rising in recent years, those of us who live in apartment complexes might feel discouraged from starting home garden projects – they’re messy and time-consuming, not to mention that a lot of space is usually a prerequisite. That’s why SOLE was created. SOLE, a home gardening system, poses first as a small coffee table only to reveal a hidden, self-maintained, miniature garden for city dwellers who want to fill their homes up with some natural greens, but not the fuss that typically comes with them.

More people are moving into cities, which means that access to home gardening is decreasing since natural light is harder to come by and smaller apartment spaces, like efficiency studios, are preferred. Thankfully, SOLE’s coffee table was designed to take up as little space as possible in order to fit into even the smallest of studios. Indoor urban gardening is usually practiced by using grow box containers that require a lot of window ledge space and natural sunlight – both of which can be hard to come by in city apartment searches. In order to make home gardening possible in any city-living space, SOLE maintains the perfect climate, temperature, and nutrients for you and your chosen plants so long as they fit inside the coffee table’s extensive body. While researching the influence of temperature, exposure time, intensity, color from visible light, along with the distance and angle of light distribution, the designers behind SOLE decided to incorporate a lighting system that would enhance plant growth by imitating the effect the sun’s rays have on indoor plants.

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Self-watering soil could transform farming

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Researchers planted radishes in this miniature greenhouse using their self-watering soil and compared it to sandy soil found in dry regions of the world.

A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use in agriculture at a time of growing droughts.

As published in ACS Materials Letters, the team’s atmospheric water irrigation system uses super-moisture-absorbent gels to capture water from the air. When the soil is heated to a certain temperature, the gels release the water, making it available to plants. When the soil distributes water, some of it goes back into the air, increasing humidity and making it easier to continue the harvesting cycle.

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Robot courier delivering food from shop to home

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From the last week of September onwards, customers of REDI shopping centre may have spotted a small, wheeled robot moving about on its own. Its task is to deliver meals on demand from K-Supermarket to the Majakka high-rise building. Customers can place an order via the building’s Asumi service on their computer or mobile device, and the delivery robot courier will take the products directly to the customer or to the collection point in the building’s shared facilities.

This is an ongoing robot delivery pilot in Kalasatama district in Helsinki implemented by technology company Dimalog in collaboration with Omron and service design agency Muotohiomo. The pilot is coordinated by the city of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki with its partners SRV and KONE. SRV is involved regarding the smart living services directed at Majakka residents, while KONE Oyj offers the lift interfaces for the delivery robot to move about in Majakka. Another essential partner is REDI’s K-Supermarket, which has the opportunity to test the robot in its services.

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Bulleit introduces futuristic 3D printed cocktail

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Different groundbreaking digital tools have infiltrated just about every aspect of the modern world as technology continues to improve at an ever faster rate. But one area that’s been largely untouched by tech is the bar scene. You can still find bartenders crafting drinks the same way they have for hundreds of years at the local watering hole.

That may change soon with the help of 3D printed technology recently debuted to the public as a part of Bulleit’s Frontier Works program, a series of projects and collaborations with cultural creators.

A crowd filled with industry insiders and social media influencers gathered at an abandoned train station in Oakland, California to get a glimpse into the potential future of the alcoholic beverage industry. Guests were served drinks at a giant bar made completely of 3D printed plastic but managed to look like rustic copper, an achievement its architects took pride in after completing the largest node-based printing structure they’d ever taken on.

“[Bulleit] wanted us to go bigger in scale, which is really uncommon and something they deserve credit for,” said Machine Histories principal Jason Pilarski. Computational designer Ryan Oenning compared the task to turning in a rough draft for your master’s thesis.

Impressive as the structure was, a much smaller booth adjacent to it drew more attention as the night went on. That’s where German robotics pioneers Benjamin Greimel and Philipp Hornung supervised a robotic arm making 3D printed cocktails.

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Whole Foods predicts top food trends for 2021

John Mackey discusses how supermarket chain has adjusted amid the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Expect veggie jerky, probiotic-packed sauerkraut and chickpea tofu in snack food aisles.

The future of snacking will be packed with immunity-boosting ingredients, like mushroom broth, fruit and veggie jerky and probiotic-fueled packs of roasted garlic sauerkraut.

More Americans are apparently looking to incorporate healthy supplements into their snacking habits, according to Whole Foods Market’s list of “Top 10 Food Trends for 2021,” released Monday.

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An AI analysis of 500,000 studies shows how we can end world hunger

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An Indian farmer dries harvested rice from a paddy field in Assam.

Ending hunger is one of the top priorities of the United Nations this decade. Yet the world appears to be backsliding, with an uptick of 60 million people experiencing hunger in the last five years to an estimated 690 million worldwide.

To help turn this trend around, a team of 70 researchers published a landmark series of eight studies in Nature Food, Nature Plants, and Nature Sustainability on Monday. The scientists turned to machine learning to comb 500,000 studies and white papers chronicling the world’s food system. The results show that there are routes to address world hunger this decade, but also that there are also huge gaps in knowledge we need to fill to ensure those routes are equitable and don’t destroy the biosphere.

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A smarter, more capable Flippy robot knows how to fry 19 things

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It makes all the fries.

The restaurant industry has never been for the faint of heart, what with the razor-thin profit margins and continuous churn of employees. Combine that with the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and, well, it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of eateries across the country have shuttered permanently over the last seven months alone. However, Miso Robotics (makers of Flippy, the burger-flipping robot chef) argue that the path back to financial stability for America’s restaurants will require an autonomous revolution.

Buck Jordan, founder and CEO of Miso Robotics, points out to Engadget that the switch from full-service dining to exclusively take out and delivery has many restaurants “operating a loss and just trying to hang on,” especially when delivery apps like UberEats and DoorDash take upwards of a 30 percent cut out of each order.

“You can see why closing up shop is really the only option for many once your revenue is coming from delivery orders,” he continued. “There’s just so much pressure on the bottom line.”

That’s why the company announced on Tuesday that it is making the latest iteration of Flippy available commercially across the globe. But this isn’t the Flippy that we saw at White Castle in July. This one is smarter, more capable and armored against airborne infection.

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3D printing a meatless world: Self-medication with 3D printed food

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As we’ve seen previously in this series, 3D printing could have a significant impact on the burgeoning meatless meat industry. Moreover, everything is surimi is everything, and everything is surimi. These two claims of mine could have a substantial effect on 3D printing as an industry and our world in general, if they turn out to have substance.

We are however, in the initial stages of a food revolution. The bigger picture sees the Industrial Revolution (which created the current food system of supermarkets, chains, and brands), the Green Revolution (which expanded agricultural production in the 1950’s), bioindustry development (which saw the dawn of AFOs, hormones in meat, caged chickens in their millions, etc.) be joined by another paradigm shift in food production: Lab Food.

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KFC is working with a Russian 3D bioprinting firm to try to make lab-produced chicken nuggets

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The restaurant chain says it’s the meat of the future

KFC is trying to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets, part of its “restaurant of the future” concept, the company announced. The chicken restaurant chain will work with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop bioprinting technology that will “print” chicken meat, using chicken cells and plant material.

KFC plans to provide the bioprinting firm with ingredients like breading and spices “to achieve the signature KFC taste” and will seek to replicate the taste and texture of genuine chicken.

It’s worth noting that the bioprinting process KFC describes uses animal material, so any nuggets it produced wouldn’t be vegetarian. KFC does offer a vegetarian option at some of its restaurants; last year it became the first US fast-food chain to test out Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken product, which it plans to roll out to more of its locations this summer.

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This former semiconductor factory is now the worlds largest indoor farm, producing 10k heads of lettuce per day

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This indoor Japanese farm uses LED lights and hydroponics to produce lettuce 2.5 times faster, with just 1% of the water, when compared to an outdoor farm.

When we think about factories, and what we decry as “factory farms,” we probably don’t think very highly of them as being a key component in the future of agriculture, but if we can take what factories do best, such as use technology to build efficient production lines, and pair that with what nature does best, which is growing biomass from light and water and minerals, then growing food in plant factories starts to make a lot of sense.

Converting what were formerly industrial buildings into indoor farming operations, especially in urban areas and locations that aren’t conducive to year-round outdoor food production, could be an excellent reuse of existing resources (the buildings themselves, the infrastructure that supports them, and their locations in or near cities) to help build a more sustainable food system. And this sort of operation can be done in a way that’s both highly efficient and productive (PDF), in essence turning our ideas about industrial-scale factory farming on their heads.

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Amazon is rolling out grocery carts that let shoppers skip checkout lines, bag their groceries and walk out

Amazon launching smart grocery carts that track shoppers’ items

Amazon is launching smart shopping carts at its Woodland Hills, California, grocery store in 2020.

Dash Carts are embedded with cameras, sensors and a smart display that automatically track a shopper’s order.

Similar to Amazon’s cashierless Go stores, Dash Carts allow shoppers to avoid checkout lines as they exit the store.

Amazon is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line.

The Dash Carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area grocery store, which is slated to open this year, the company announced Tuesday.

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