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Old MacDonald Buys Robots!

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Broadcast Date: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 12:15-12:30 GMT
Summary: Mushroom-picking Robots

Press Release
Transcript

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The West Midlands Region - At the Heart of it All

The University of Warwick is proud to be located in the West Midlands at the heart of the UK.


Advantage West MidlandsThis video is kindly supported by Advantage West Midlands
www.advantagewm.co.uk

 Synopsis

MushroomsThere's a new sound down at Old MacDonald's farm, where the cacophony of noise is being replaced by the soft hiss of hydraulics and the faint hum of electricity.

At the University of Warwick, proudly situated in the West Midlands, at the heart of the UK, scientists in the Warwick Manufacturing Group are working on a number of robotic and automation projects that could change the face of modern farming.

Mushrooms are a delicate crop that has to be reared under conditions that are less than pleasant for human workers to operate in. Now a robot mushroom picker can identify mushrooms at their optimum picking size; needing little space or light to work in, ideal conditions for growing mushrooms, it can work around the clock, maximising the use of peak picking opportunities.

Researchers at Warwick have also replaced the remote control unit of the “Ransomes Spider” grass cutter with an even more remote unit – a computer that will programme and control groups of cutters to take the hard work out of mowing large areas of grassland.

Teaming up with scientists at Warwick HRI, the University’s Agricultural arm, the Warwick Manufacturing Group have also developed an inflatable conveyor belt for agricultural machinery company “Aeropick” – a compact and easily manoeuvrable system that can be taken into the field to speed crops to storage, ensuring the very best quality and maximising crop profits.

The robotic revolution is all about working smarter, not harder – something that should come as a welcome change to a profession with more than its fair share of drudgery.

Old MacDonald will still have his farm but it promises to be a quieter, more efficient farm for the future.

Footage:

- Robot Mushroom Picker
- Robot Grass Cutter
- Inflatable Conveyor Belt

Interviewees:

- Dr Ken Young, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick
- Dr Rosemary Collier, Warwick HRI
- Tony Botsman, Aeropick

Note: The Aeropick system is covereed by
both British and PCT (global) patent applications.

 Further Resources
 General Information

ALL STORIES ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL APTN SUBSCRIBERS ON TUESDAY 07 MARCH 12:15 TO 12:30 GMT. AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL VIEWING FROM 16:00 GMT ON TUESDAY 07 MARCH. ALL SCRIPT INFORMATION AND VIDEO PREVIEWS ON WWW.RESEARCH-TV.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL RESEARCH-TV ON: 44 (0) 207 004 7130.

Page contact: Tracy Playle Last revised: Fri 28 Apr 2006
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