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Russia: Smart greenhouse in Tomsk test-drives high-tech agriculture

The capabilities of a smart greenhouse, developed by scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University, were presented to the residents of Tomsk. The scientists demonstrated to the public new technologies that can be successfully implemented in agriculture. The robotic complexes were presented to all interested.

The researchers of the Engineering school of New Production Technologies of Tomsk Polytechnic University are carrying out a full scale project on design and construction of an innovative autonomous greenhouse experimental facility. In the greenhouse, the scientists will demonstrate the most advanced technologies, invented in the university: phytotrons, ceramic heaters, spectroscopic research, automated control systems etc. If the smart greenhouse proves its efficiency, the invention could be used in regions with extreme climate conditions, for example, in the Arctic.

The smart greenhouse has been constructed on the property of the university. It is working in test mode and is open for the public. The first results of the research and the first crops are planned to come in by the end of 2018. The official opening ceremony of the greenhouse will be conducted in the same period.

The greenhouse has already been fully equipped; the lighting and heating are in place. Moreover, special hydroponic constructions for vertical farming of microgreens, strawberries, lettuce, and installations for taller plants, cucumbers and tomatoes, have been put into place. The first plants are in at the automated greenhouse. The scientists are planning to use two types of robotic systems based on unmanned aircraft: one for automated planting and collecting the crops and another one for pollination.

“The smart greenhouse is first of all an experimentation field for practical testing of the technologies, worked out in the university. These are only the first steps. Further, the greenhouse will be better equipped and the research possibilities will be expanding. Our task is to make the greenhouse suited for the efficient and economic implementation in agriculture”, underlined the vice rector for financial and economic matters, Mr. Maksim Vodyashkin.

The scientists have prepared presentations demonstrating the capabilities of the new technologies. “We have shown the robotic grass mower, which can cut grass on the required area in an automated mode, without human interference and a mobile platform that can be used as a farmer’s assistant for cargo transportation and fulfilling agricultural operations. It works on the basis of video identification, monitors the position of the operator and can follow him along the predefined route taking into account all the possible obstacles. Moreover, on the same basis we could create an information-monitoring complex, using an unmanned aircraft. The platform itself will be a starting base for recharging and accumulating the data. The unmanned aircraft will be flying around the field, taking photos, making a map. This will allow the grower to assess the current state of crop collection and the prospective crop yield for the next year and so forth”, noted the lecturer of the department for industrial technologies, Mr. Andrey Proskokov.


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