The following videos show members and others who are developing technology to boost food production, improve agricultural efficiency, and lower the cost of feeding livestock.
INDOOR VERTICAL FARMSIn this video, coproduced by The Institute, you can get a look inside AeroFarms of Newark, N.J. The indoor farm is considered to be the largest in the world based on how much it can grow, harvesting nearly 1 million kilograms of leafy greens and herbs per year. The facility relies on LED lamps instead of sunlight, and uses about 95 percent less water than field farms. The crops require no pesticides or soil.
SENSOR APPLICATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE
Senior Member Gourab Sen Gupta presents three cases of how technology is used for farming, including embedding sensors to monitor the health of plants and vision sensing to measure cattle’s physical condition. Gupta is an associate professor at the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey University, in New Zealand, and a guest editor of the IEEE Sensors Journal.
COMPUTER VISION AND ROBOTICS FOR FARMS
Jim Ostrowski, vice president of engineering at Blue River Technology, in Sunnyvale, Calif., discusses the need for farms to move into the digital age because of the shortage of workers. His company develops smart agriculture equipment including automated machines for precision farming, such as for spraying herbicide only on the weeds and not the crops. Ostrowski also describes several of Blue River’s technologies and how they are being used today.
FEEDING FARM ANIMALS
In this video from IEEE Entrepreneurship, you can meet Jason Force, chief executive of Iron Goat, a robotics company in Fairfax, Va. Force explains how his machine bales hay into a small cube—about the portion that will feed one farm animal. The animals eat 95 percent of the cubed hay; typically on farms, animals eat about half the hay they’re fed, Force says. The current way of baling hay requires significant resources including specialized equipment and manual labor. Iron Goat’s system produces feed at lower costs, and the equipment can be rented out.
This article is part of our April 2018 special issue on agtech.