August 13, 2020

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Robotics and tech featured in NZ’s agricultural gathering

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Fieldays is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event and the ultimate launch platform for cutting edge technology and innovation. It is one of New Zealand’s most iconic events.

As a partner to the event, more than 30 staff members of Massey University are showcasing the latest innovations in education and technology, according to a recent press release.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor explained that the event provides the best opportunity for industry to get together to focus on the future of the rural sector and work together to develop solutions that meet both national and global goals.

The University will be showcasing some of its innovations and collaborations that will hopefully contribute to the government’s vision of “whenua ora, wai ora, whanau ora,” which means healthy land, healthy water, healthy communities.

Showcasing technology and innovation

The University’s mobile lab is also at the event. People will be able to test their fitness and measure their body composition. Equipment will be available to test strength, agility and flexibility.

The Business School will be showcasing its partnerships and expertise working with, and alongside, the rural sector.

This includes the potential for technological innovations to be developed in partnership with farmers and growers through the Rural Innovation Lab, of which the University is a key partner.

As the leading education provider of primary sector education, the University will also be showcasing some of its latest teaching programmes.

These programmes are designed to meet the needs of the industry and develop the next generation of leaders in agrifood and technology.

Featuring robotics

Also showcasing their innovations at the event is the University of Waikato, with a stand in the Main Pavilion that features robotics and work done by university engineering staff and students in conjunction with a robotics company.

As reported, the University’s stand includes a prototype asparagus harvester, designed to take the hard work out of asparagus picking; and a replica of a log scanner, a machine that can quickly weigh and measure logs on a truck.

The asparagus harvester is a machine that can spot a spear, line it up and cut it off at ground level. Reportedly, 3D printers will be available on site to print asparagus spears.

A replica of the log scanner will also be available on site. The actual scanner is too big to fit on the stand but part of the machinery will be there.

Manually accounting for the weight of each log on the trucks crawling over the Kamais to the Port of Tauranga is a long and slow process.

The log scanner addresses this problem as it is a robot that weights and measures every log on every truck.

Another project being showcased is aimed at reducing the dangers that forestry workers face in their day-to-day work, and worse, the serious injuries and fatalities that occur on the job.

The University is developing a method that will tell workers when they are becoming tired or are dehydrated. This will be achieved in the form of a shirt with sensors.

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