Belfry High School sophomores Jonah Adkins and Brendan Hackney have been working to make a mark on the high-tech agriculture. AhBen, a robot created to monitor the growth, color, and water needs of plants, was built from a Vex Robotics testbed as part of the school’s Project Lead the Way program.
The robot moves over plants, measuring and imaging them before sending their health information to a computer. According to the team, the robot is an extra set of hands in a job with few workers and limited space, and is basically self-sufficient with its wireless capabilities.
“Time is always a valuable asset. So, we want to be able to use this robot in nurseries,” said Adkins. “To be able to just go through in seconds and be able to measure the height and color and just water the plants and be able to report it all back to a computer. So, it doesn’t waste a lot of time and workers and land.”
The project also seeks to cut down CO2 emissions, and will eventually include watering capabilities to keep plants healthy and bring Appalachian agriculture into the new era. “With our coal industry gone in Eastern Kentucky, we don’t really have an industry right now. So we could bring an industry here,” said Hackney. “That’s kind of our goal is to kind of raise and nurture the beginning of a new industry in Eastern Kentucky.”
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