A unique project, called simply “X”, led by the parent company Google, Alphabet, is working on a prototype of robots designed to help in agriculture.
One blog post, the leader of project X, Elliot Grant, discusses a new project he is working on, called “Mineral” – a suite of hardware and software tools that analyze the “complexity of the plant world”.
In other words, the goal is to gain a better understanding of how our food grows and to quantify it, a process that Mineral calls “computational agriculture.”
As the microscope has led to a transformation in the way diseases are detected and managed, we hope that better tools will enable the agricultural industry to transform the way food is grown. In recent years, the team of this project has developed the tools of what they call computerized agriculture, in which farmers, ranchers, agronomists and scientists will rely on new types of hardware, software and sensors to collect and analyze information about the complexity of the world. plants.
So, for example, “Plant Buggy”. It is an adorable little rover, reminiscent of NASA crawlers that examine the landscape of Mars, which can “collect plant-level information,” such as identifying desired or unwanted features that a particular plant may have.
“By combining the images collected by the plant buggy with other data sets, such as satellite images, weather data and soil information, the team is able to create a complete picture of what is happening in the field and use machine learning. to identify useful patterns and information about how plants grow and interact with their environment, ”reads startup website.
Mineral hopes that its tools will allow us to predict how plants respond to different environments and how to better predict the yield of a particular crop, accurately tracking the growth of plants over time.
The small startup is still “developing” according to its website, but is already “learning from innovative breeders and growers in Argentina, Canada, the USA and South Africa”.