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by   -   July 24, 2014

There are two broad schools of thought on the path of robocar technology and the timeline for its adoption: the aggressive school and the conservative school, and neither is likely to be entirely right.

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If you were to design the worst possible environment for software engineering, the cramped jump seat of a John Deere tractor would be a contender. The sound and vibration of the engine makes conversation and concentration difficult. If the sun isn’t making it impossible to see the monitor, the blowing dust is.

by   -   December 18, 2013

Let me admit up front that I’m not the best person to be covering a robotics competition. In fact this is only the second one I’ve attended; the first, Sparkfun’s AVC, is a tough act to follow and set my expectations pretty high. On the other hand, the theme of this year’s International Robot Olympiad is Robots in Agriculture, which is right in line with my own interests, so maybe it’s a wash in this instance.

by   -   November 15, 2013

Last spring the Whitehouse launched We the Geeks, a series of Google Hangouts meant to highlight the future of American science, technology, and innovation. The latest hangout, playfully titled Don’t be Bored, Make Something was released today and includes among its panelists CEO of MakerBot Bre Pettis. Watch the full video below.

by   -   November 4, 2013

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University of Colorado’s robotic plant growth is demonstrated at the Kennedy Space Center. Source: NASA.

Targeting a sustainable presence of humans in outer space will require solving air, water, energy, and food supplies within a few thousand cubic feet surrounded by vacuum. What seems at first sight to be a problem of an apocalyptic, remote future reveals itself as the grand challenges of our civilization in a nutshell. This article argues that space exploration can be one of the main drivers to revolutionize sustainable agriculture on earth.

by   -   October 25, 2013

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Yamaha is testing spraying vineyards in Napa Valley through a COA with the FAA. Photo courtesy Yamaha Corp.

With the global market for unmanned systems in agriculture on the rise, companies that make robotic ground and air systems are paying close attention.

More than 25,000 “field” or agriculture robots will be sold by 2015 — about the same as robots for military use, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Together, defense and agriculture make up the lion’s share of the nearly 94,000 “service robots for professional use” that the IFR believes will be sold in the next couple of years. Defense and agriculture are by far the two largest categories in IFR calculations, with robots for things like logistics, medicine and rescue coming in well behind.