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Robotic Gardeners: MIT Droids Tend Plants

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MIT student Huan Liu positions a robot gardener near a tomato plant

AP Photo / Steven Senne

These gardeners would have green thumbs — if they had thumbs.

A class of undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a set of robots that can water, harvest and pollinate cherry tomato plants. The small, $3,000 robots, which move through the garden on a base similar to a Roomba vacuum, are networked to the plants. The robots can sprinkle the plants from a water pump when they need water, and use their arms to pluck a ripe fruit. The robots' creators hope their technology eventually could be used by farmers to reduce the natural resources and the difficult labor needed to tend crops.

From U.S. News and World Report
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