The Future is Now: The next generation in horti-technology

Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, 2021 is an exciting year for horticulture as it has seen the emergence of many potentially game-changing technologies on both local and industrial scales.

At Floral and Hardy, we like to keep abreast of innovations like these, not least of which so we can share the good news with our readers. Here’s a list of our favourite horticultural advances in recent times.

TrimBot2020

Robotics will be a recurring theme throughout this piece since the combination of automation and artificial intelligence is set to radically transform almost every facet of human life.

That’s why the first entry on our list is TrimBot2020 which threatens to put strimmers, trimmers, and even a few topiary experts out to pasture. The project has been funded by the EU is designed to automate the trimming process using a combination of robotics and optical technology.

Much like the automated vacuum cleaners now gaining popularity, TrimBot will be able to independently navigate obstacles and terrain to quickly trim and restore any form of hedging to its desired size and shape.

Seeing into our plants

Alongside the replacement of human labour for that of machines, the other major development that AI and automation will make possible is the augmentation of human abilities to raise them to new heights.

Horticulture is now getting its first taste of this augmentation with the arrival of VR Headsets that allow gardeners an unprecedented view into the health of their plants.

No doubt industrial farming will be the first to adopt this technology to greatly streamline crop checks. The VR works by reflecting wavelengths of light that would normally be invisible to the naked eye, doing so increases the visual contrast between healthy and unhealthy plants and might aid in preventing the outbreak of infectious blights or in simply preserving and restoring the health of keystone specimens.

PhenoBot

Perhaps the most impressive new technology on our list, the PhenoBot is like a futuristic swiss army knife for tomato crops. Employing a 3D lightfield camera, it can accurately predict the number of fruits each plant can be expected to produce while also taking stock of their expected size and weight.

However, the PhenoBot can also help protect tomato crops by providing early warnings of afflictions like botrytis using chlorophyll fluorescence measurements as well as applying targeted fungicides to specific areas of the fruit.

So concludes our summary of the latest in horticultural innovations, do you have a favourite technology that didn’t make the cut? Stay tuned to our blog as we’ll continue to report on these exciting developments as they arise.

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