Welcome to
Science a GoGo's
Discussion Forums
Please keep your postings on-topic or they will be moved to a galaxy far, far away.
Your use of this forum indicates your agreement to our terms of use.
So that we remain spam-free, please note that all posts by new users are moderated.


The Forums
General Science Talk        Not-Quite-Science        Climate Change Discussion        Physics Forum        Science Fiction

Who's Online
0 registered (), 173 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Posts
3mV VS 2mV ( final Experiment ) THX for Respect
by newton
Yesterday at 06:41 AM
Instruction Manual How To brake SYMETRY !
by newton
10/13/17 01:04 PM
Eureca during fast motion mass M become longer!!!
by newton
10/04/17 03:03 PM
Short story about SYMETRY .
by newton
10/04/17 08:13 AM
P=MV neutralizer
by newton
10/02/17 09:53 AM
The universes expansion accelleration solved.
by Marchimedes
10/01/17 01:51 AM
Top Posters (30 Days)
newton 30
Marchimedes 1
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#34548 - 05/26/10 03:20 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: kallog]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kallog
I think it's great. If weedkillers don't work it'll force those weeding robot makers into gear. Afterall it's probably only the existance of cheap weedkillers that's keeping them from rapid development and use.


I have a cheaper option - use <insert currently troublesome group of illegal immigrants here for your particular local>. Probably cheaper than robots, although far less PC...

Boy, I hope that comment doesn't get me banned. But the point is that at todays prices, minimum-wage labor is likely far cheaper than robots.

But robots are waaaaaaay cooler.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
.
#34551 - 05/26/10 05:11 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
paul Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 4117
Quote:
you'll inevitably have regions where pest species are exposed to sub-lethal doses of the agent. Any slight resistance will be selected for in these areas, leading over time to a population of organisms capable of handling higher doses of the agent. Repeat this over time, and eventually you select for a resistant pest species.


I 100% agree to this , as Im sure monsanto does also.
and Im also inclined to "believe" that monsanto along with
the other pesticide companies fully understand that they are
responcible for the resistant species.

just like BP is responcible for the oil leaking into the gulf.

farmers who can no longer grow crops due to the resistant species
that are the result of using these pesticides should be able to
recieve monetary loss recovery from monsanto and the other pesticide companies
along with those resturants that also are damaged by the pesticide use.

otherwise there is no end to what will happen , monsanto and the other similar
companies should be held responcible for their actions just like BP isbeing held responcible.

so when you think about it , as monsanto surely knows the damage they are
causing the conspiracy that you speak of is not conspiracy its fact.

of course getting them to admit that is another story.
and getting a biologist to admit to that is another story , like getting a oil
man to admit that burning oil is a bad thing for the environment.
_________________________
3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.

Top
#34552 - 05/26/10 05:34 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
paul Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 4117
Quote:
Boy, I hope that comment doesn't get me banned. But the point is that at todays prices, minimum-wage labor is likely far cheaper than robots.


when you think about it on a one time only basis , perhaps.

but hireing a single laborer for $7.00 an hour x 8 hours = $56.00

suppose you need to have at least 100 laborers durring the 8 hours

thats $5600.00 a day ---- that money is gone.

and they only work 8 hours.

but there are 7 days in a week

you have spent $39,200 a week ---- that money is gone.

a gps robot should be mass produceable for less than $200.00 each.

and they can work 24/7

so 8 x 7 x 100 = 5400 hours a week

vs the robots

24 x 7 = 168 hours a week each

5400 / 168 = 32 robots to work 5400 hours a week.

32 x say $300.00 each = $9600.00

the week is over and you still have your robots to work the next week.

think of the savings to farmers and the savings to the environment.

and maybe you could rent the robots instead of purchasing them.

and the provider handles the upkeep of the robots.




I think its a great idea and I think its a way we can compete with the
ultra low wages in foreign countries.
_________________________
3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.

Top
#34555 - 05/26/10 07:32 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: paul
I 100% agree to this , as Im sure monsanto does also.
and Im also inclined to "believe" that monsanto along with
the other pesticide companies fully understand that they are
responcible for the resistant species.

just like BP is responcible for the oil leaking into the gulf.

farmers who can no longer grow crops due to the resistant species
that are the result of using these pesticides should be able to
recieve monetary loss recovery from monsanto and the other pesticide companies


I don't agree here, for two reasons. Firstly, knowledge of evolution isn't hard to come buy. That inappropriate use of these products will lead to resistance is a well established fact, and it is upto the end user to take that into account and thus use the products properly. Secondly, the pesticide products I am familier with (I grew up on farms, and most of my family remain farmers) come with instructions on proper use - including on how to use them in a way that reduces the likelihood of resistance developing. I would argue that given the farmers should have this info at their disposal, it is therefore their responsibility to make sure they use these products appropriately.

The comparison to BP is simply wrong; a closer analogy would be the rise of antibiotic resistance. It isn't the antibiotics manufacturers fault this has occurred, but rather is the fault of the MD's who over-prescribed them, and the patients who misused them.

What you want to do is hold a manufacturer responsible for the mis-use of their product by a consumer. That's arse-backwards.

My family are largely farmers. They are not having problems with pesticide resistance, because they use the products properly. Why should farmers too stupid to follow the instructions on the bottle get a free pass? For that matter, why should the manufacturer be held responsible for their inability to follow the instructions on the bottle.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34556 - 05/26/10 07:45 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: paul
[quote]
when you think about it on a one time only basis , perhaps...

<I'm cutting out some math>

the week is over and you still have your robots to work the next week.

think of the savings to farmers and the savings to the environment.

and maybe you could rent the robots instead of purchasing them.

and the provider handles the upkeep of the robots.


You've got the costs of labourers down, although your $7/hr is unlikely. Most are paid by what they produce/pick; not by hourly wage.

But you've ignored the other half; the cost of the robots. I have no idea what such a unit would cost, but given that the simplest of modern manufacturing robots run over $10K each, and a farming robot would have to be far more complex (needs high dexterity to avoid damaging the crop, visual recognition systems - something I have some experience with, and trust me it ain't cheap or easy, must be mobile, etc), I'd be guessing you're talking about machines in the hundreds of thousands of dollar range (equivalent to a combine, btw, if your talking the sub-$250K range).

There is also the issue of multi-use. A laborer can pull weeds, pick produce, remove pests, apply fertilizer, water the fields, preform repair work, plant seeds, setup bird/shade netting, etc. Meanwhile, most farm equipment (and thus, presumably, most farm robots) can only do one or two functions. Ergo, your one laborer may need 2-3 robots to replace them.

And then you have operational costs (fuel, repairs, etc), maintenance, mandatory warranty work, and the wages of highly trained (and thus expensive) operators, etc.

And the last problem being the issue of farming being a seasonal activity - during which time your robots sit idle, but still cost you money (be it storage fees, winterizing expenses, or whatever).

One day I'm sure the technology will develop to the point where these things will be possible in a price range which is competitive. But given the state of robot tech today, and the relative inexpensiveness of seasonal laborers and students, we're a long ways off.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34559 - 05/26/10 08:42 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
paul Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 4117
the reason robots and especially small weed picking robots
are so expensive is they are not mass produced.

how much does it cost to build and deploy a communications satelight?

yet I can get tv , internet , telephone for apx $80.00 a month.

no where near the billions of dollars it cost to develope the satelight , build the rocket to put it in orbit or pay the salaries to all those involved.

but its the mass service contracts that pay the billions of cost.

just like the farming robots , but in mass production the small weed picking robots will be made of plastic , have photo comparison software in something like a cell phone sized computer
that takes a picture of the ground then determines the weeds position , then moves to that position and plucks up the weed.

it would resemble something like one of the remote controled
trucks or cars that you see selling in radio shack for around
$30.00 , it just doesnt have the photo comparison software or a
onboard camera array.

or a artificial weed plucking hand.

but with mass production those items cost would be greatly lowered also , just like the remote controlled truck and cars.

I said $300.00 because it would only be farmers mostly that would be purchasing the robots , not the general public , if this type of item would sell to the general public its cost might approach $50.00





_________________________
3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.

Top
#34560 - 05/26/10 09:16 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: paul
the reason robots and especially small weed picking robots
are so expensive is they are not mass produced.


In part. But robots are also fantastically complex, which adds to the price. Keep in mind, complex objects like cars and planes are mass produced, and yet they are quite pricey.

Originally Posted By: paul
how much does it cost to build and deploy a communications satelight?

yet I can get tv , internet , telephone for apx $80.00 a month.


Yeah, but your not buying the satellite, nor are they mass produced. What you are paying for is permission to intercept the signals from one. Hardly a relevant comparison.

Originally Posted By: paul
just like the farming robots , but in mass production the small weed picking robots will be made of plastic , have photo comparison software in something like a cell phone sized computer
that takes a picture of the ground then determines the weeds position , then moves to that position and plucks up the weed.


I think you underestimate the complexity of IDing a 3D object, separating it from the background, and identifying what it is. As part of my day-to-day job I write software which automatically analyzes 2D microscope images (which have a only a single colour, btw), identifies and classifies objects within those images, and preforms various forms of analysis and processing.

Despite the "simplicity" of the image processing I engage in, it requires a large distributed network of computers to preform that analysis. We're talking a total of 32 computers cores (plus an additional 8 that preprocess and oversee the whole process). These processes are far simpler than what would be needed to ID a weed verses a crop (which would require colour analysis, morphology analysis, the ability to ID a 3D shape given multiple possible viewpoints, be able to ID different developmental states, etc), and even given the massive computing power we have still takes hours to run. And you think a cell phone-level computer is going to be able to preform a far more complex tasks in seconds?

Also, keep in mind that the robot you propose isn't going to offer farmers much - its simply taking care of one task that a laborer could otherwise do while engaged into other tasks. If you're going to have a guy/gal walking down the rows of your crops planting, picking, running watering lines, tasseling, etc, you may as well have him/her pull weeds at the same time. Why spend hundreds (I'd argue thousands to tens of thousands) for a robot that does one task, when you're going to have to hire humans anyways, and they could do the same task as part of their day-to-day duties?

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34562 - 05/26/10 10:01 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
paul Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 4117
geez, thats alot of work.

well if the robots are the ones planting the seeds , then
they know where the plants will grow (data storage).

everything green around that area could be plucked up.

so all you need is a color identifier.

a simple color number program can do that in a few lines of code.

ie...
pixel = 0
color = (20000 to 20100)
sub pick_color()
for pixel = 0-50000000
get image.pixel.color.value
if image.pixel.color.value = color then goto pluck
pixel = pixel + 1
next pixel
end sub

sub pluck()

load the image , scan the image with code allow a few hundred shades of green , compare
the value of each pixel , note the depth in the image by the base of the color (the weed color), plot its location , snap a seperate image from a different angle repeat the above , now you have the weeds location.

it just gets simpler , believe me.

just make sure you dont use green dirt, LOL

I could even see how you could have bean picking robots.
corn picking robots , it would bossom into a gigantic robotics industry.

set it and forget it.

its a good thing there wernt so many nay sayers around when everything was getting invented , or we would still
be rubbing sticks together to make fire to cook what we just killed , because there is no refrigerators or ovens
or lights , or anything for that matter.

try optimism.






_________________________
3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.

Top
#34564 - 05/27/10 12:27 AM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: paul
well if the robots are the ones planting the seeds , then
they know where the plants will grow (data storage).


Except that not all seeds germinate, seeds move within the soil, animals will move the seeds, not all plants grow in straight lines, and a weed can occupy the space "assigned" to a planet by out competing it - that's what makes them weeds after all.

May work for hydroponic operations; doesn't stand a snowballs chance in hell in a field.

Originally Posted By: paul
so all you need is a color identifier.

a simple color number program can do that in a few lines of code.
load the image , scan the image with code allow a few hundred shades of green , compare
the value of each pixel , note the depth in the image by the base of the color (the weed color), plot its location , snap a seperate image from a different angle repeat the above , now you have the weeds location.


Except for a few not-so-minor issues:
1) Many weed "species" are the wild variants or closely related wild species to the crops under production. This is why they are weeds - they closely resemble the crops under cultivation, and thus grow well under the conditions farmers create. Ergo, weeds often look pretty much the same as the crop. This is a major issue in canola and wheat farming, and is also a driving factor behind producing herbicide resistant crops.

2)Even in the same species of plants, the colour can vary greatly depending on a range of factors - differing intensity of sunlight can alter the production of protective pigments, some pigments are hydration and/or pH sensitive, disease often bleach colour, colour often changes at different stages of plant development, and all that's on top of good 'ol phenotypic variation.

3) The range of colours available to plants are limited - all land plants have the same fundamental 5 pigments, and their "specific" colour is merely due to the balance of those pigments. As a result, the number of unique colours is quite limited.

Together, those little details make colour-based identification far more difficult than you think. The chance of a crop having a colour - even a spectra - unique enough to separate it from weeds is pretty much zero. Both the limited colour options, combined with the colour variation in single species, precludes this type of detection in most cases.

To actually ID weeds you need to analyze morphology: the shape, size and spacing of leafs, the vascular patterns on those leafs, the branching patterns of the stem, etc (this is how plants are ID'd in the real world). And your algorithm needs to be robust enough to deal with damaged plants, stunted plants, wilting plants, and weed species closely related to your crop.

Its a tall order, far more complex then you seem to realize.

Originally Posted By: paul
it just gets simpler , believe me.


Hmm, I'll raise your supposition with a childhood spent farming and an adulthood spent developing computer routines to analyze morphological features.

That's a poker analogy, BTW. What I'm trying to say is this task is far more complex than you seem to realize - plants are not nicely colour coded for your convenience, nor do they play nice by always being clearly different from each other. I've got a lot of experience in using computers to ID objects based on morphological features, and if were as easy as you seem to think, I'd have been unemployed years ago...

Originally Posted By: paul
I could even see how you could have bean picking robots.
corn picking robots , it would bossom into a gigantic robotics industry.


Get on it then - if its so simple it should be no problem for you to develop said systems.

That said, the technology to pick beans, corn, etc, is already largely automated. All you really need to do for that is put a tractor with the appropriate harvesting equipment under GPS control. And do it at a price cheaper than having your kid drive the tractor...

Now an automated tomato, or pepper picker; that would be a thing of beauty...

Originally Posted By: paul
its a good thing there wernt so many nay sayers around when everything was getting invented , or we would still
be rubbing sticks together to make fire to cook what we just killed , because there is no refrigerators or ovens
or lights , or anything for that matter.

try optimism.


I prefer reality, thanx. As someone whose made a career as a scientist (and I've invented a couple of microfluidic devices - maybe that qualifies me as an inventor as well?) I've learned that the quickest way to success is to ID the weak points in your idea, and attack them head-on. The granting agencies have forced me to also appreciate the cost-benefit side of planning...including knowing when an idea isn't financially tractable.

Your route leads to a lot of failures and disappointment. My route gets the job done - if, indeed, the job needs to be done.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34566 - 05/27/10 02:37 AM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
paul Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 4117
maybe you just read my last reply wrong , I never said that the color would be used to identify the plants , I just said if the color is green and not in the designated location it is plucked.

maybe I wasnt to clear about that part.

I myself have planted seeds and have noticed how they for the most part shoot straight up after the sprouts leave the seed.
possibly veering no more than 1/8 inch further from where they are planted...depending on the seed size.
unless there are rocks or some other obstacle in there way.

which pretty much covers your reply.

listen I understand how something such as this would threaten
your job , so I dont blame you for securing your future.

after all , why would farmers need biologist if they grew there own seed , or were capable of growing there own seed as is the norm these days because of biologist fixing seeds so that they cant.

_________________________
3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.

Top
#34570 - 05/27/10 06:01 AM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
kallog Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: paul
listen I understand how something such as this would threaten
your job , so I dont blame you for securing your future.


People who are always suspicious of others are often guilty of the same thing themselves.

But I do agree with you that identifying weeds isn't that big a deal if it's mass produced. Sure the software will be difficult to design. But once it's done it's done. Hell my cheapy digital camera can recognize poeple's faces. This stuff isn't trivial but copying software is free, so the more you sell, the cheaper the development cost is per unit.

If it makes a few mistakes it doesn't matter. The existing use of humans for weeding is pretty unreliable too. Also no need for an expensive robot grabber to dig them out, just spray them, burn them, mow them or whatever.

Top
#34578 - 05/27/10 02:08 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: paul]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: paul
maybe you just read my last reply wrong , I never said that the color would be used to identify the plants , I just said if the color is green and not in the designated location it is plucked.

maybe I wasnt to clear about that part.


No, you were not.

Originally Posted By: paul
I myself have planted seeds and have noticed how they for the most part shoot straight up after the sprouts leave the seed.
possibly veering no more than 1/8 inch further from where they are planted...depending on the seed size.
unless there are rocks or some other obstacle in there way.


Then you obviously haven't worked on a farm. We plant seeds using a machine then places individual seeds in a perfectly straight line, with the seeds centered an exact distance apart (a surprisingly simple device; basically a set of tubes set around a drum. Seeds run down the tubes, into the soil, while the drum turns). And yet, by the time the seeds sprouted you had rows of grain 2' wide or more, with irregularly spaced plants.

Originally Posted By: paul
listen I understand how something such as this would threaten your job , so I dont blame you for securing your future.


<sigh>, going for the insult angle I see.

As my profile clearly states, I work in the medical sciences. Whether or not someone develops an automated farming device of any sort has no direct impact on my life what-so-ever.

But hey, ignore my experience in both the areas your referring to - your gardening skills obviously make you the expert...


Originally Posted By: paul
after all , why would farmers need biologist if they grew there own seed , or were capable of growing there own seed as is the norm these days because of biologist fixing seeds so that they cant.


Interesting world you live in, where the very people who've made it possible for farming to actually be able to feed the 6+ billion people on this planet are the bad guys.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34579 - 05/27/10 02:38 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: kallog]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kallog
But I do agree with you that identifying weeds isn't that big a deal if it's mass produced. Sure the software will be difficult to design. But once it's done it's done.


But the problem was never the software; given a few weeks I'd probably be able to come up with something that could do a good enough job.

The problem, as outlined earlier, is the issue of computing power - the kind of analysis you would need to analyze plant morphology on the fly is going to take a computer a little bit more powerful than a cell phone. If you want the robot to be able to tell weeds from crops at a reasonable rate of speed (i.e. so you could pick them faster than they grow back) you're going to need a fair amount of processing power; several thousand dollars worth at least - per robot. Plus GPS (or something else to keep them in your fields, and to ensure they go everywhere they need to), plus the cost of the robot itself, plus whatever fuel it uses, plus maintenance, etc.

Originally Posted By: kallog
Hell my cheapy digital camera can recognize poeple's faces.


Yes, but facial recognition is about as easy as morphological analysis gets - you're simply seeking a fairly uniform object (despite our preconceptions, the human face is fairly uniform, with eyes, nose and mouth set in a concrete spatial relationship). And keep in mind that your camera only determines if a face is there. It's not identifying what race that face is, if its a boy/girl face, etc - and those kinds of detailed determinations are exactly what would be needed to ID weeds verses crops.

And plants are much more diverse, morphologically speaking, than are people - even when you're talking about plants of the same species - making an even more difficult issue.

And don't forget, you do a lot of the work for your camera before it recognizes a face - like pointing it at a human, and having that human orientated in a fashion where the face is front-on to the camera. A weed seeking robot doesn't have that advantage; it needs to ID the weeds regardless of the preconditions; even if they are sandwiched between two other non-weed plants.

Originally Posted By: kallog
If it makes a few mistakes it doesn't matter. The existing use of humans for weeding is pretty unreliable too.


We don't use humans for weeding much at the industrial scale, so I don't think that comparison can be made. If plant production is your livelihood, you're not going to be willing to have much leniency. A 1% error rate is a 1% crop loss (ontop of other losses). Given the small margins on farming I don't think many farmers would willingly invest in equipment they know will increase the loss over that of the alternatives. As much as we hate them, pesticides don't cause crop loss, which is why they are so very popular.

Originally Posted By: kallog
Also no need for an expensive robot grabber to dig them out, just spray them, burn them, mow them or whatever.


Fire = bad; I've seen fields accidentally lit by a careless cigarette; a blow torch is out of the question unless you're farming something really wet. Spraying kind of misses the point - the whole purpose of the robot is to avoid chemicals (a laudable goal, IMO). Mowing doesn't get rid of the weed, only slows its growth...

Like I said, its a great idea, but there are a lot of hurdles in the way. And unless you can implement it in a way which is equally efficacious to current practices, and in a format which is financially competitive with the current practices, no farmer on earth is going to adopt the technology.

After all, who is going to buy dozens of robots, at hundreds to thousands of dollars a pop, when they can spend less on pesticide, spray it using their existing equipment, and experience less crop loss as a result?

Its a great idea, and I'd love for someone to prove me wrong on this, but its a far more complex issue that you guys seem to appreciate --AND-- you seem to be completely ignoring the economic angle.

Its like inventing a better mouse trap - sure you can invent better ones, but unless they work as good as, and are as cheap as, the wood/wire ones (3 for a buck at the local dollar store), no one is going to buy them.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34585 - 05/27/10 04:51 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
kallog Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Hi ImagingGeek.

I also work designing processor intensive software, so I'm aware of the limitations of computers. And I've done weeding on farms - distinguishing Italian ryegrass from perennial ryegrass for example. That's why this whole robot idea excites me. Sure it won't happen straight away, but oneday I hope nobody will have to do such sub-human work.

Quote:

amount of processing power; several thousand dollars worth


Oh that's all you're talking about? That's nothing compared to the cost of building the mechanical parts without mass production. A GPS receiver is effectively free. I have a feeling you're trying to make the software problem sound expensive just because it's complicated. 15 years ago automatic number plate recognition was unheard of, now it's done routinely from moving police cars. Car-park guards can type your number plate into their computer and their cameras will find where you put your car. Addresses on letters are scanned faster than you can blink. Sure these may be easier problems, but they have some tougher cost/performance/portability requirements.

In weeding I think there are 2 separate applications which you're confusing. One is to replace selective weedkillers that you spray over everything. The other is to replace manual weeding. I don't know what this is like elsewhere but when I was doing it, I was usually picking out a single unwanted variety from a field of one or two OK ones. Choosing between 2 or 3 possibilities is surely much cheaper/faster than comparing to a database of thousands.

Top
#34586 - 05/27/10 05:12 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: kallog]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kallog
Hi ImagingGeek.

I also work designing processor intensive software, so I'm aware of the limitations of computers. And I've done weeding on farms - distinguishing Italian ryegrass from perennial ryegrass for example. That's why this whole robot idea excites me. Sure it won't happen straight away, but oneday I hope nobody will have to do such sub-human work.


The whole farming thing gave me plenty of motivation to stay in school. There is a lot of boring, hard and repetitive jobs on a farm, and I'm happy to be away from that life (minus the farm gals, who are much more "earthly" than their city kin...).

I too would like to see a lot of this on farms, if anything, to increase the margins of my family who still work farms. It is not a profitable business, and its frustrating to see them work as hard as they do, for as little as they get.

Originally Posted By: kallog
Oh that's all you're talking about? That's nothing compared to the cost of building the mechanical parts without mass production.


But that cost does come down with mass production; the kinds of computing power needed though is currently expensive and will likely remain that way for years to come.

As I said, we do the same kinds of morphological processing here at work that would be needed to ID weeds verses crops. We make a point of regularity upgrading our hardware (its our single greatest material expense, after service contracts), but even with the most modern 8-core processors we're still needing to network several together to get the kind of processing speeds we need to do this stuff in a practical time-frame (and one not even close to real-time).

One day that kind of power will probably fit into my watch, but not anytime soon.

Originally Posted By: kallog
A GPS receiver is effectively free. I have a feeling you're trying to make the software problem sound expensive just because it's complicated.


Quite the opposite - the software is easy, as morphological analysis is pretty old-school stuff these days. Like I said in my last post, give me a bit of time and I could probably write it. The issue is the kinds of computing power it'll take to implement that type of analysis, at a speed sufficiently fast to be practical, and at a cost which is competitive with existing options. If the robot can only process a few plants an hour, it'll be useless.

Originally Posted By: kallog
In weeding I think there are 2 separate applications which you're confusing. One is to replace selective weedkillers that you spray over everything. The other is to replace manual weeding. I don't know what this is like elsewhere but when I was doing it, I was usually picking out a single unwanted variety from a field of one or two OK ones.


I'm thinking you may be a bit older than I wink Between GM crops and seed banks, farmers (at least up here) don't do a lot of selection on their crops. Even as a kid, which was a fair time ago (pre-GM, anyways), most farmers were switching to buying seed every year in order to avoid having to pay for the later kind of weeding you mention.

Originally Posted By: kallog
Choosing between 2 or 3 possibilities is surely much cheaper/faster than comparing to a database of thousands.


Not really. Its the actual morphological analysis which is computing-intensive. Once you calculate the morphological parameters, IDing the object takes milliseconds using fairly standardized cluster analysis routines (K-mean, or DBSCAN are the norm).

This is maybe beyond the range of this discussion, but in my own work I am trying to develop methods to automate the analysis of drugs and genetic mutations on certain cell functions that can be tracked with fluorescent tracers. The process is basically a 3-step one, separate the cell from the background, analyze the morphology of the cell and fluorescent tracers, and finally compare that morphological information to a huge database (currently ~50,000 cells strong, containing information on the effects of ~500 drugs/mutations).

The first and last step of this process takes less than a second each. The middle part takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes per cell. You can imagine, if a robot needed 10-15 seconds per plant to tell if it were a weed or not, the weeds would probably grow back faster than the robot would be able to remove them.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34587 - 05/27/10 05:16 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: kallog]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Presumably the bots would be programmed to recognise key characteristics of the particular crop, then instructed to eliminate any non-conformers. It looks, from what you've all said, that were talking exclusively about visual ID. Would there not also be a detectable chemical signature for a given crop type?
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#34593 - 05/27/10 11:29 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: redewenur]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
And maybe our weeding bots could compare spectral reflectance:

"For weed detection in cultivated crops, two interrelated general approaches have typically been used ...The first is to detect certain morphological differences between the crop and weeds...The second general approach is based on differences in spectral reflectance...Despite the different problems encountered thus far in detecting weeds, some researchers argue that the spectral characteristics of plants are sufficient to differentiate plant species without introducing geometric complexities."

http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/45/2/477
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

Top
#34600 - 05/28/10 08:47 AM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: ImagingGeek]
kallog Offline
Megastar

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek

I'm thinking you may be a bit older than I wink Between GM crops and seed banks, farmers (at least up here) don't do a


Nope just a couple of years ago. Actually I don't know what our clients were up to. Maybe they were making the seeds in the first place??

Quote:

Its the actual morphological analysis which is computing-intensive.


OK. So hey here's a way round it. Drive over the field recording everything. Then go home and analyse it at your leisure over days/weeks. Hopefully the plants are still where you left them when you go back to kill them.

At 10mins per plant you can do 1000 per week. Hmm that's certainly slow but maybe the processing could be done offsite at some dedicated facility and have it finished in a day.

How much would that processing cost?
Suppose 1 plant takes 10 minutes at 1 GFLOPS
That's 6e11 floating point operations.
Some efficient computer can do 540 MFLOP / J = 2e-9J/FLOP
So electrical energy use for 1 plant = 6e11 * 2e-9 = 1000J = 0.0003 kWh
@ $0.1/kWh
= 0.003c per plant
* 1 million(???) plants in a field
= $30/field
= Cheap!!!!

Multiply by 10 for actual cost of a computer service -> $300 per million plants, and add a bit for the "dumb" robot which might even be an attachment on the farmer's existing GPS guided tractor.

Top
#34605 - 05/28/10 02:08 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: redewenur]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Presumably the bots would be programmed to recognise key characteristics of the particular crop, then instructed to eliminate any non-conformers.


But that still doesn't change the time it takes to anlyze morphology, which is the slow step. Whether your database for comparison has 1 entry to compare to, or thousands, won't affect processing times much. DBSCAN and K-Means are very fast and effective clustering algoriths...

Originally Posted By: redewenur
It looks, from what you've all said, that were talking exclusively about visual ID. Would there not also be a detectable chemical signature for a given crop type?


Possibly, although our technological ability to do that kinds of work is pretty limited - hence why dogs are still the preferred way of doing those kinds of detections. And I doubt it would work in the cases like canola farming, where the major weeds are simply wild strains of canola.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
#34606 - 05/28/10 02:13 PM Re: Rise of the Superweed [Re: redewenur]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: redewenur
And maybe our weeding bots could compare spectral reflectance:

"For weed detection in cultivated crops, two interrelated general approaches have typically been used ...The first is to detect certain morphological differences between the crop and weeds...The second general approach is based on differences in spectral reflectance...Despite the different problems encountered thus far in detecting weeds, some researchers argue that the spectral characteristics of plants are sufficient to differentiate plant species without introducing geometric complexities."

http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/45/2/477


If it works - great (spectral analysis is pretty cheap, and fairly light in terms of the computing power needed). But as your article states, even among the real experts that method is debatable. I imagine (having no knowledge of their field) that their issues are the same as the ones I brought up - variation in the same species, limited variability among species, and the fact that many weed species are the wild variants of the crop.

Bryan
_________________________
UAA...CAUGCUAUGAUGGAACGAACAAUUAUGGAA

Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >



Newest Members
debbieevans, bkhj, jackk, Johnmattison, RacerGT
865 Registered Users
Sponsor
Facebook

We're on Facebook
Join Our Group

Science a GoGo's Home Page | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Features | News | Books | Physics | Space | Climate Change | Health | Technology | Natural World

Copyright © 1998 - 2016 Science a GoGo and its licensors. All rights reserved.