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Automation in Plant Science: The RoboFarm Project combines Teaching and Practice

Automation in Plant Science: The RoboFarm Project combines Teaching and Practice

© Hans Bethge/LUH
Sneak peek at the system design: This is what the FarmBots could look like. The design originates from the project "Agro-Nordwest experimental field" in cooperation with Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. (BMEL, Grant No.: 28DE103F18)

Dag Heinemann, Professor of Phytophotonics at the Institute of Horticultural Production Systems and the Hannover Centrte for Optical Technologies (HOT), moves with his research at the interface between plant sciences and engineering. With a new project, he would like to inspire students for this interdisciplinary approach as well:  In the RoboFarm, students can independently monitor and manage indoor experimental fields in an automated way with the help of two portal systems, so-called FarmBots.

Open-Source CNC-Farming

The open software platform FarmBot offers easy and creative access to the topics of automation and digitalisation, even without preliminary knowledge, and enables students to realise independent projects.

The FarmBots will be used in regular teaching for the first time from the summer semester of 2024 as part of the Bachelor's module "Biosystems Engineering". In addition, project and final theses will be offered for students interested in technology, in which, for example, new tool heads can be designed and realised using 3D printing or new exposure options can be integrated into the system. Interested students may contact the Phytophotonics team as early as the summer semester of 2023.

Funded: Combination of teaching and practice

RoboFarm benefits from funding from the Innovation Plus programme of the state of Lower Saxony. The focus of the current funding period is on teaching concepts that strengthen practical relevance. A nice success: Three of the 60 approved projects are being carried out by members of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.