- Mixed Biological-Robotic Systems
- Multi-Robot Coordination and Swarming
- Smart Materials
- Journal Club
Our long-term goal is to develop an autonomous green house in which all tasks are performed automatically. Water and nutrients will be delivered locally on-demand and fruit will be harvested optimally, that is when they are ripe and when its removal is best for the plant. Plants will drive the robots’ activities in the garden using sensors to monitor their local environment conditions, a plant-specific model of growth for making predictions about the state of fruit, and interaction with robots for establishing an inventory of fruit.
The current focus of the project is on tele-operation. The rational is simple: showing that we can tele-operate it demonstrates that the system fulfills the minimal mechanical and sensorial requirements, which can then serve as a baseline for autonomous operation. We have also begun to create the data basis for (un)supervised machine learning of plant status and manipulation planning by developing a 2D gantry system that collects RGB-D readings from Strawberry plants.
This project started as an undergraduate project course 6.084/086 taught at MIT during Fall 2008. The project was framed as addressing a grand challenge: to create a robotic gardening system. Solving the grand challenge required designing and programming robots to interact effectively and autonomously with the real world. We developed the class hardware infrastructure consisting of six robots with an iCreate base and a 4DOF arm with eye-in-hand configuration and an optional watering system and four cherry tomato plants, each with its own local sensing and computation packaged in an embedded computer. The robots and plants were networked together as a mesh network. The plants have the ability to monitor their soil humidity and issue watering requests. They also have the ability to database the location and color-level of the tomatoes. The robots have the ability to visit a specific plant to deliver water or to locate and grasp a tomato. Users have the ability to request tomatoes for salad. In response to user requests, the system decides which specific plants have the ripest tomatoes and assign parallel harvesting tasks to robots.
This preliminary work has led to a UROP project at CU Boulder (autoponics.org), sponsoring by NASA’s x-hab competition with the goal to develop a tele-operated greenhouse in the academic year 2012/2013 as well as a NASA Early Career grant to develop the fundamental perception and manipulation capabilities future autonomous systems will need. We have also begun studying human factors, i.e., the influence of growing plants in confined environments. More specifically, we are interested into studying, which tasks contribute to astronaut’s well-being and which tasks need to be automatized.
- David Coleman
- Nicholas Farrow
- Heather Hava
- Daniel Zukowski
- Aerospace Graduate design project class Fall 2012/Spring 2013
- Advanced Robotics class Spring 2013
N. Correll, N. Arechiga, A. Bolger, M. Bollini, B. Charrow, A. Clayton, F. Dominguez, K. Donahue, S. Dyar, L. Johnson, H. Liu, A. Patrikalakis, T. Robertson, J. Smith, D. Soltero, M. Tanner, L. White, D. Rus. Indoor Robot Gardening: Design and Implementation. Intelligent Service Robotics. Special Issue on Robotics in Agriculture.
N. Correll and D. Rus. Peer-to-Peer Learning in Robotics Education: Lessons from a Challenge Project Class. ASEE Computers in Education Journal. Special Issue on Novel Approaches in Robotics Education. To appear. [preprint]
N. Correll, N. Arechiga, A. Bolger, M. Bollini, B. Charrow, A. Clayton, F. Dominguez, K. Donahue, S. Dyar, L. Johnson, H. Liu, A. Patrikalakis, T. Robertson, J. Smith, D. Soltero, M. Tanner, L. White, D. Rus. Building a Distributed Robot Garden. In IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pages 1509-1516, St. Louis, MO. Finalist for NTF Best Paper Award.
- NASA Early Career Grant
- NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (Heather Hava)
- NASA x-hab competition
- CU-Boulder students engineering deep space gardening system by Betsy Lynch, InnovationNews.com, July 2, 2012.
- Future deep space missions could have robotic vegetable garden by Kevin Lee, PCworld.com, June 13, 2012.
- NASA’s robo-garden is a terra-forming trifecta by Andrew Tarantola, Gizmodo.com, June 13, 2012.
- CU-Boulder students to help NASA develop plant food production for deep space, Space Travel, June 7, 2012.
- NASA Habitat Competition Looks For Bioregenerative Space Greenhouses by Rebecca Boyle, Popular Science, June 6, 2012
- CU students to help NASA develop astronaut food, Phys.org, June 6, 2012.
- CU Boulder Team to work on space food project by B. Anas, The Daily Camera, 06/04/2012.
- Agricultural Robots – Fields of automation, The Economist, December, 2009.
- 3 New Farm Bots Programmed to Pick, Plant, and Drive by Erik Sofge, Popular Mechanics, September, 2009.
- Robogardner by MIT News Staff, MIT Technology Review, May/June, 2009.
- A review of the Top-10 Robots of 2009 by Keith Kleiner, December 22, 2009.
- The Robot Gardener that Plants, Tends and Harvests, Amog.com, September 17, 2009.
- VIDEO: Tiny robot swarms pioneer engine maintenance by Aimee Turner, Flight Global, May 8, 2009.
- MIT and the Constant Robotic Gardeners by Aaron Saenz, Singularity Hub, April 14, 2009.
- Robot làm vườn by Trùng Quang, Thanh Nien Online, April 12, 2009.
- В Массачусетском технологическом институте разрабатывают полностью автономную роботизированную теплицу March 23, ITC, Ukrainia.
- Roboter-Gärtner überwachen Pflanzen vollautomatisch, Die Presse.com, March 23, 2009.
- Robot gardeners by David Pescovitz, March 31, 2009, boingboing.net.
- Green-thumbed robots: the future of sustainable precision agriculture?, March 26, 2009, gizmag.com.
- Robots Help Garden Thrive, Converge Magazine, March 23, 2009.
- MIT Students Develop Robotic Gardeners by Georgiana Boblicu, Softpedia.com, March 23, 2009.
- MIT dreams of fully autonomous greenhouse, will definitly make it happen, by Darren Murph, engadget.com, March 22, 2009.
- Robots Care for Plants (By Peeing on Them) by Wilson Rothman, Gizmodo.com, March 20, 2009.
- Precision agriculture uses robot gardeners for sustainable farming, by Bryan Betts, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), March 19, 2009.
- Robotic Gardeners Tend To Tomato Plants, Ubergizmo.com, March 11, 2009.
- Robotic gardening: MIT course creates robot-tending tomatoes, gadgetted.com, March 19, 2009.
- MIT researchers grow tomato gardening robots, Network World, March 19, 2009.
- Here’s what’s awesome: robot gardeners, by Brady Carlson, New Hampshire Public Radio, March 15, 2009.
- MIT開發的機器人園丁來也 by Peivan and Matt Hickey, taiwan.cnet.com, March 13, 2009.
- MIT creates robots that serve as gardeners by Doug Osborne, www.geek.com, March 12, 2009.
- Attack of the killer robo-gardeners, by Matt Hickey, CNET news, March 12, 2009.
- Robot gardeners to do more gentle picking and gardening, TechFever Network, March 12, 2009.
- MIT introduces networked plants tended by robot gardeners by S. Kramer, DVICE.com, March 11, 2009.
- Robotic gardeners tend tomato plants by Conner Flynn, Slippery Brick, March 11, 2009.
- MIT gardening robot leaves nothing to do for farmers, Gadget Reviews, March 11, 2009.
- Is our Future Filled with Robotic Farmers Tending to Sensor-Equipped Vegetables?, by Ariel Schwartz, Fast Company, March 11, 2009.
- Robot tend the tomatoes by Judy Lowe, The Christian Science Monitor, March 11, 2009.
- Robotic gardening: MIT course creates robot-tending tomatoes , March 10, 2009, physorg.com.
- MIT branches out with more than a garden-variety robot, by Renee Nadau, The Boston Herald, April 11, 2009.
- I, robot – and gardener: MIT droid tend plants, by Melissa Trujillo, Associated Press, April 10, 2009. Syndicated more than 160 times and appeared in USA Today, Forbes, and Washington Post as well as in Austria (Der Gärtner mit dem Greifarm), China ([图片]麻省理工学院研制的园丁机器人), Germany (Der grüne Daumen wird elektronisch),The Netherlands (Robot als tuinman) and Mexico (Atiende a las plantas robot jardinero) among others.
- Robots are taking over the garden, by L. Clarizio, The American Institute of Physicsand Ivanhoe Productions, broadcasted as a segment of Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science on TV stations throughout the US
- Robot Gardener Plants, Tends and Harvests, by Eric Bland, Discovery Channel News, April 8, 2009.
- R U Robot Ready?, Mevio Tech News, March 11, 2009.
- Garden variety, MIT TechTalk, March 18, 2009. The distributed robotic garden in MIT Technology review.
- BBC Radio 5 Live, Interview, April 14, 2009.
- In an Age of Robots, One to Clean the House? Still but a Dream, by Natalie Angier. New York Times, November 24, 2008.