Maryland Robotics Center students present results of semester-long project on robotics in agriculture and aquaculture

On December 19, 2018, three groups consisting of three Maryland Robotics Center graduate students presented the results of their semester long projects on robotics agriculture and aquaculture. The students had been working under the supervision of the Maryland Robotics Center Director Professor Miao Yu. Funding for the projects was provided by the Maryland Robotics Center.

Each group worked on a separate project. Two groups were charged with identifying challenges of Maryland agriculture and aquaculture that could be addressed or assisted with robotics technologies. One group was charged with tapping into their creativity to generate futuristic ideas on robotics application in green agriculture.

The Maryland agriculture group decided to focus on the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BSMB) infestation, a pervasive pest native to China, Japan, and Korea that made its way to America on cargo ships and is extremely difficult to eradicate. The group came up with a plan to use a fleet of miniature-sized flying robots to locate BSMB eggs that are typically laid under leaves and to prevent them from hatching.

The Maryland aquaculture group selected oyster theft as the focus of their project to help aquafarmers battle poachers. They designed a tracking system that would detect poaching and alert farmers to theft as it occurs. They further extended their underwater technology ideas to oyster cultivation and precise harvesting. The group focused on futuristic agricultural robotics technologies blueprinted a vertical hydroponic wall garden with a fully automated robotic system that would be used to tend to growing plants, monitor nutrient levels for the roots, spray fertilizers, if needed, and harvest the yield. The students also unveiled the design of a robot that could do that as part of the system.

The projects are expected to be fully funded in the upcoming spring.

Published December 20, 2018