Combining agriculture, computer power, statistical models and chemical analysis, researchers have learned how to maximize the flavor of basil plants, a preliminary step toward optimizing food growth, and open-sourcing the technology to do so.
The scientists, from the Open Agriculture Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, say that “cyber agriculture” could additionally aid in the production of pharmaceutical plants and other plants used in industry, such as cotton, to increase favorable traits and better adapt crops to the effects of climate change, according to R&D Magazine.
What is cyber agriculture? The Open Agriculture Initiative tells R&D Magazine that they coined the phrase to encompass a number of controlled-environment agriculture technologies that combine robotic systems of environmental control, precision monitoring of a plant’s response to specific stimuli, and statistical and machine-learning models to study and enhance yield and quality of agriculture crops.
The Open Agriculture Initiative researchers seek to make the technology and techniques they develop accessible and available to be further built upon so that the work can help tackle global issues such as food security and the impact of climate change on agriculture. When we work together in agriculture everyone wins. For more on agriculture, check out our weekly podcast, "Farm, Food, Facts, " which is available everywhere you can listen to podcasts—even on Alexa.