Robot helps scientists fight hunger

3 years 1 month 1 week ago Friday, April 14 2017 Apr 14, 2017 Friday, April 14, 2017 4:48:00 PM CDT April 14, 2017 in News
By: Emily McCarter, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA — A team of researchers at the University of Missouri have created a robot, called Vinobot, that is revolutionizing the way scientists study crops.

Vinobot works to better understand how corn grows in conditions like extensive heat, droughts and floods.

It inspects the behavior of individual plants by using sensors to measure heights of the plants, temperature, light intensity and humidity.

Gui DeSouza, an electrical engineering and computer science associate professor, has worked extensively on the project. He said robots like Vinobot will aid scientists in solving one of the world's greatest problems: hunger.

"The pressures and the demands are getting bigger and bigger," DeSouza said. "The population keeps growing and we have to feed more people."

The goal is to develop drought-tolerant crops.

"We are looking at how climate is affecting plants and how plants should be developed, should be bred, and should be prepared to cope with those changes in climate," DeSouza said.

Student Ali Shafiekhani has been studying Vinobot for about three years. He said one of the reasons it was created is because humans have struggled collecting data themselves.

"We had this idea of collecting data using robots in the field, because we are aware of the difficulty that manual data collection involves," Shafiekhani said.

He said this is the third season the researchers are deploying the robot to roam the rows of the Bradford Research Field.

Another robotics system that aids in the team's research is the Vinocular, an observation tower that oversees the field and monitors the corn 24/7.

"The idea is to have the Vinocular control the Vinobot," Shafiekhani said.

"It detects a certain area that is under stress and sends the robot to that area, and the Vinobot can collect more accurate and more detailed data."

The tower collects 3D models of the field using two cameras that rotate 360 degrees.

"It can inspect how the plants react during the day to the heat, to the sun, and how they recover during the night," DeSouza said.

The team received a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2014.

DeSouza said the project's challenges include coping with wind and other field conditions.

"The biggest challenge is to provide enough data that plant scientists can have to correlate with the actual behavior of the plant," DeSouza said.

Planting season should start at the end of April or beginning of May, depending on the weather.

DeSouza and Shafiekhani said they are looking forward to advancing Vinobot in the future, including making the data-collecting process quicker.

"We are always trying to improve to make it better," DeSouza said "New research questions are going to be challenging us to develop new and better things."

He wants to remind people of the groundbreaking and meaningful work researchers are doing at MU.

"We are not just for teaching," DeSouza said. "We have to push technology like this so we can teach our students new things that can bring better economic development for our state and our country."

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – The messy weather pattern we’ve been in is about to head east and we’ll be left with cooler... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:57:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in Weather
LAKE OF THE OZARKS —After videos of a crowded Lake of the Ozarks bar went viral over Memorial Day weekend,... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:45:58 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With schools closed and after school programs cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has gotten creative... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:37:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY — Deputies from the Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested an 18-year-old from Tebbetts on Monday. Just after... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:03:11 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —A formal plea of not guilty in the murder of Mengqi Ji was filed on behalf of Joseph... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that Missouri voters will see the constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid eligibility... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:03:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:00:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top health official in Kansas on Tuesday urged Kansans who joined large gatherings at Missouri's... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 6:49:56 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
MISSOURI - Missouri is moving into a new phase of COVID-19 reopening that will implement a new set of guidelines... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 5:44:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson will deliver his daily COVID-19 briefing live from the State Capitol in Jefferson City... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 2:01:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY - The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals upheld a ruling Tuesday that the city of Columbia acted... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 12:14:00 PM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
HOWARD COUNTY - A 30-year-old Armstrong, Mo. man is dead after a two person crash on Missouri State Highway 5... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 8:38:00 AM CDT May 26, 2020 in Top Stories
(CNN) - Despite dips in recent years in gun violence and the sanctioned stay-at-home orders, Chicago saw its deadliest Memorial... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 5:54:36 AM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 Tuesday, May 26, 2020 5:29:00 AM CDT May 26, 2020 in News
CHARITON COUNTY —A tornado briefly touched down in Chariton County just after 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service... More >>
1 day ago Monday, May 25 2020 May 25, 2020 Monday, May 25, 2020 9:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2020 in News
O’FALLON — Missouri’s health director issued a dire warning Monday after photos and video showed Memorial Day weekend revelers partying... More >>
1 day ago Monday, May 25 2020 May 25, 2020 Monday, May 25, 2020 8:39:00 PM CDT May 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Despite the COVID-19 pandemic sidelining all youth sports from play, one local coach decided to get some practice... More >>
1 day ago Monday, May 25 2020 May 25, 2020 Monday, May 25, 2020 5:57:00 PM CDT May 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Boone County will move to the next step in reopening Tuesday. Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human... More >>
1 day ago Monday, May 25 2020 May 25, 2020 Monday, May 25, 2020 5:17:00 PM CDT May 25, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
2am 67°
3am 67°
4am 67°
5am 66°