Tarzan the swinging robot could be the future of farming

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Some farmers already use drones to monitor their crops, but a team of researchers from Georgia Tech have created a far more interesting alternative. Instead of designing yet another drone, they created a robot inspired by Kristen Bell’s favorite animal: the sloth. However, they named it “Tarzan” after the most recognizable character who moves by swinging from vine to vine.

Their machine was designed to move like the fictional jungle dweller. Tarzan will be able to swing over crops using its 3D-printed claws and parallel guy-wires stretched over fields. It will then take measurements and pictures of each plant with its built-in camera while suspended.
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This Kenyan Startup Uses Mobile Phones To Build Credit For Farmers

If you want to help the world’s poorest, help them to farm. So says Bill Gates, and it makes sense. More than three-quarters of the poorest live in rural areas and most are smallholder farmers working less than two acres. They often lack the seeds, machinery, livestock, and finance they need to grow, so they struggle to emerge from poverty.

Two young entrepreneurs from Kenya have an idea to help: FarmDrive develops credit histories for farmers, so they become more attractive to financial institutions offering loans. So far, they’ve signed up more than 3,000 farmers on their mobile-based platform. In 2016, working with a financial partner, they helped disburse about $130,000 in loans to 400 farmers.

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Ikea just launched a DIY flat-pack indoor garden that can feed a whole lot of people at once

Swedish architects Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm collaborated with Space10, Ikea’s innovation lab, to design a piece of living furniture that can feed quite a few people, from the looks of it.

Called the Growroom, it’s a flat-pack spherical garden that grows plants, veggies, and herbs.

“Standing tall as a spherical garden, it empowers people to grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way,” its designers write on Medium.

Though Space10 launched the Growroom in late 2016, the designers just made the plans open-source. You can download the instruction manual on Space10’s site.

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‘Prescriptive planting’ technology is set to disrupt the farming industry

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Tractor-mounted computers help farmers make decisions about planting crops.

The word innovation usually brings to mind small startups doing clever things with cutting-edge technology. But it is also vital in large, long-established industries—and they do not come much larger or older than agriculture. Farmers can be terrible managers, so it is no surprise that they are nervous about a new idea called prescriptive planting, which is set to disrupt their business.

 

 

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NASA plans to grow vegetables in space

NASA is organizing the Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) program that will send packs of seed material to the ISS.

When humans begin colonizing space there is one challenge we’ll be facing, how to get food to those colonies. The idea of farming in space is hardly a new one.  Astronaut Don Pettit successfully grew a zucchini, broccoli, and sunflower on the ISS, but NASA is now researching how vegetables may be grown in space for consumption.

 

 

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