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Thursday, January 05, 2012

US$ 52 Million for Robotic Farming in Japan

According to a Taipei Times report the Japanese government is planning a futuristic farming project, called "Dream project" on land swamped by the March tsunami. The agricultural ministry will begin on-site research later this year with a plan to spend around ¥4 billion (US$52 million) over the next six years, a ministry official said. 
High-tech companies such as Panasonic are to be invited to get involved in the project in a bid to give a much-needed boost to the beleaguered sector, the ministry spokesman said. Among other companies expected to join the project are Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sharp, NEC, Yanmar, Ajinomoto and Ito-Yokado Co, according to the Nikkei.
Lifting robots and unmanned tractors would work fields where pesticides would have been replaced by LEDs keeping rice, wheat, soybeans, fruit and vegetables safe until robots can put them in boxes.
Superhuman Farmers
This might be also a new business opportunity for Prof. Katsuya Kanaoka and his company Man-Machine Synergy Effector Inc, developer of the Man-Machine Synergy Effectors (MMSE), a high-performance robotics tools for human physical empowerment. Since 2003 the MMSE concept has been developed and prototypes has been demonstrated such as the Power Finger, more than 100 times stronger than human fingers (World Expo 2005). In 2006 he demonstrated a multi-DOF power amplificator of a human upper arm and in 2008 the Power Pedal for human lower extremities, which amplifies human leg power intuitively, has been presented. 
Check out the video below for a demonstration of the highly reactive master-slave robotic effector.  

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