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Education and Research at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water with a 3-Axis Farming Robot

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Page Count

10

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34492

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34492

Download Count

145

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Paper Authors

biography

Abhijit Nagchaudhuri University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Dr. Abhijit Nagchaudhuri is currently a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He is a member American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and, American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers(ASABE) and is actively involved in teaching and research in the fields of (i) robotics and mechatronics, (ii)remote sensing and precision agriculture, and,(iii) biofuels and renewable energy. He has published more than 70 refereed articles in journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Nagchaudhuri received his baccalaureate degree from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India with honors in Mechanical Engineering. Thereafter, he worked in a multinational industry for a little over three years before joining Tulane University as a graduate student in the fall of 1987. He received master’s degree from Tulane University in 1989 and doctoral degree from Duke University 1992.

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biography

Jesu Raj Pandya University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Currently a doctoral student in Food & Agriculture Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES),
MSc - Applied Computer Sciences at UMES,
BSc - Electrical and Electronical Engineering ( JNTU).

Interest in robotics and automation in food production and food safety.

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biography

Madhumi Mitra University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Dr. Madhumi Mitra is currently a professor of environmental sciences in the department of Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She is also the coordinator of Biology and Chemistry Education. Dr. Mitra is actively involved in teaching and research in the areas of biofuels and renewable energy; applications of algae in food and environment; and water quality. She has published several peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings, and is the recipient of various awards and competitive grants. Dr. Mitra received her baccalaureate degree from Presidence College in Kolkata, India with honors in Plant Biology, Geology, and Physiology. She received her master’s degree from University of Calcutta, India, and her doctoral degree from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC in 2002.

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biography

Travis Ford University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Doctoral Student with a background in environmental science, agricultural science, and food science.

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Abstract

“Smart Farming” efforts at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) have been incorporated with AIRSPACES (Autonomous Instrumented Robotic Sensory Platforms to Advance Creativity and Engage Students) project supported by Maryland Space Grant Consortium. Broad goals of the project are aligned with USDA’s “environmentally friendly agriculture” and NASA’s “earth science” mission objectives.

As part of the AIRSPACES project, the UMES team has developed and integrated autonomous platforms such as autonomous boats, autonomous ground robots, as well as unmanned aerial systems, to advance sustainable agricultural practices.

Farmbot, a small autonomous farming machine, has been recently acquired by the “Smart Farming” and “AIRSPACES” project team at UMES for conducting precision farming field experiments on a small scale. The machine seeds, kills weeds, senses soil moisture levels, and irrigates plants individually over 10 feet by 20 feet area. It is, in essence, a three-axis Cartesian robot quite similar to a 3D printer that runs on Raspberry Pi 3 and an Arduino like microprocessor board. It can be easily manipulated using a web application over a smartphone. A borescope type camera (Pi-Cam) can be integrated with the z-axis of the machine that can be used for weed detection and time-lapse photography. Food Science and Technology graduate students are working in concert with engineering undergraduates and UMES staff to oversee the installation and to set up the preliminary experimental layout. Some of the pitfalls and successes during the installation of both the hardware and software of the mechatronic device will be highlighted in this paper. Initial plans of growing turnips with the FarmBot were unsuccessful due to the severity of winter weather. The project team has completed building a hoop house around the FarmBot to extend the growing season. Immediate installation plans for powering the FarmBot with solar panels and wind turbines and meeting its irrigation needs through rainwater harvesting are in progress.

Nagchaudhuri, A., & Pandya, J. R., & Mitra, M., & Ford, T. (2020, June), Education and Research at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water with a 3-Axis Farming Robot Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34492

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