Could a new robot developed by the German company, Bosch, known for making car parts and power tools in partnership with the German food and agriculture department, Osnabrück University, and Amazone, actually end the need for herbicides on farms?
It’s called BoniRob, and it can learn what weeds look like, travel through fields, and pluck them up faster than a speeding bullet (well, not really that fast). It kills weeds so fast, it’s almost impossible to see it in action. Using an extension that is less than 0.4 inches wide, it stamps down small weeds in one go, and with a few more attempts, it gets rid of larger ones.
According to Bosch, the robot is about the size of a small car, and uses the same type of laser-radar vision system that Google’s self-driving cars use to navigate the world. Using artificial intelligence, it is shown pictures of leaves of weeds and undesirable plants, then goes after them, row after row.
A press release by Bosch reads:
"We are leveraging our expertise in sensor technology, algorithms, and image recognition to make a contribution to improving quality of life, even in areas that are new for Bosch,’ says Professor Amos Albert, a robotics expert and general manager of the Bosch start-up Deepfield Robotics.
According to estimates, agricultural yields need to increase by three percent a year to keep up with population growth. Along with innovative agricultural technology and improved crop protection, more efficient plant breeding will play a particularly important role.
In this area, Bonirob automates and speeds up analysis. The robot, which is approximately the size of a compact car, uses video- and lidar-based positioning as well as satellite navigation to find its way around the fields. It knows its position to the nearest centimeter. It also helps minimize the environmental impact of crop farming.”
The robot also gets better with practice. When testing on carrot patches, BoniRob got rid of about 90% of the weeds, as reported by Popular Science.
It is being tested now on real farms, and can run for 24-hours straight, though it is powered by gasoline. Perhaps future models could be solar driven? It certainly beats spraying our crops with copious amounts of herbicides and cancer-causing chemicals, though there are improvements to be made.
And of course it means a more robotic world.
What do you think of this kind of farming technological advancement?
Wave energy technology has finally proved its feasibility to provide renewable, clean energy on a mass scale.
The Perth Wave Energy Project has demonstrated that the CETO 5 wave energy generators, developed by Carnegie Wave Energy Limited, are capable of using the movement of the ocean to provide electricity to a naval base near Garden Island in Western Australia. The site is the first commercial ocean wave energy installation. It has channeled zero-emissions energy from three CETO 5 units into a functioning power grid for 14000 cumulative hours.
Below is a short video that explains the process of how the fully-submerged CETO 5 system, made up of a 240kW bouy tethered to a water pump, converts the movements of the ocean into a stream of high-powered water, which is then is used to create hydroelecticity and power a reverse-osmosis desalination plant.
Carnegie Wave Energy claims the generator system has minimal impact on marine life, does not produce pollution, can be deployed in a variety of depths and sea floor conditions, and is unaffected by storms. With the commercial viability of the CETO system now established, the idea of a technology that produces both clean energy and clean water has many energy experts excited.
Wave-powered generation could hold the key to the viability of renewable energy because it was predictable and could run all day, every day. This is one of the great success stories in innovation in renewable energy. ~ Ian Macfarlane, Federal Energy Minister in Australia 
The Perth Wave Energy Project is the world’s first grid-connected commercial scale demonstration of Carnegie’s CETO technology. This is an important step towards unlocking the vast potential of wave energy in Australia and internationally. ~ Australian Renewable Energy Agency 
Carnegie has secured an additional $20 million in financing to pursue improvements in the next-generation CETO 6. The company and its supporters now face the challenge of increasing the scale of wave energy projects while decreasing the cost of installations.
CETO’s modular design allows for customizable scalability, and its being entirely submerged renders the equipment less susceptible to damage from storms and air erosion.
The great thing about it is we know it works. The challenge from here on is really about scale and cost. ~ Michael Ottaviano, Carnegie Wave Energy CEO 
Below is an image that shows the timeline of the CETO technology.
Click for larger image. Source: http://carnegiewave.com/
Getting around is about to look a lot different. Kuniako Saito, a Japanese engineer, and his team at Cocoa Motors, have created a laptop-sized personal vehicle that weighs less than seven pounds. The device, dubbed the 'WalkCar', is described as a 'car in a bag' because it can easily carried around.
It’s sort of like a small, four-wheeled electric skateboard meets a Segway.
The device is powered by lithium batteries and comes in both indoor and outdoor models. It only weighs between 2 to 3 kg (4.4 to 6.6 pounds) depending on the model, but can carry a person of up to 120 kg (265 pounds), according to a Reuters report.
Riders steer the WalkCar by shifting their weight from side-to-side in the direction they want to go. It can reach speeds up to 10 km per hour (6.2 miles per hour) and has a range of about 11.2 km (7 miles) after it’s been charged for about 3 hours, according to the report.
Cocoa Motors plans to begin pre-orders in October via a Kickstarter campaign.
While it's no hoverboard, it still looks pretty cool and easy to ride. Check out video below to see the vehicle in action.