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Precision pruning can help machines safely, efficiently harvest apples

July 9, 2019  |  WSU Insider

With more apples to pick than any other state—more than 2.5 million tons every year—Washington apple producers have a growing desire to put labor-saving machines to work at harvest.

Sharing new discoveries on how precise pruning could support a labor-saving mechanical harvesting technique, scientists at Washington State University have won an award for their research from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Read the article : Precision pruning can help machines, 2019, WSU Insider.

 

 

 

 

 

Western Innovator: From Nepal to Robotic Pioneer

May 12, 2019  |  Salem, OR

Some 30 years ago, he was a lad tending rice, sugarcane, goats and other crops on his family’s subsistence farm in the mid-hill region of Bhojpur, Nepal.

Last December, Manoj Karkee (pronounced Maw-nose Car-key) was among 11 U.S. and Canadian professors named 2019 pioneers in artificial intelligence and the internet by Connected World, a business and technology publication.

Karkee, 41, is an associate professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University. He leads a staff of 12 in the Agricultural Automation and Robotics Laboratory at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

Read the Paper : Western Innovator: From Nepal to robotic pioneer, 2019, Capital Press.

 

 

 

 

 

2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award – Congratulations!

May 9, 2019  |  Pullman, WA

The team of Qin Zhang, Xin Zhang, Long He, Yaqoob Majeed, Matthew D. Whiting and Manoj Karkee have been selected to receive a 2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award.
This group will be honored at the General Session Recognition Program during the ASABE Annual International Meeting on July 8th, 2019 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.

  • Qin Zhang – Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Director, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Xin Zhang – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Long He – Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Fruit Research and Extension Center, Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville, PA.
  • Yaqoob Majeed – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Matthew D. Whiting – Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Manoj Karkee – Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.

Read the Paper : A Precision Pruning Strategy for Improving Efficiency of Vibratory Mechanical Harvesting of Apples, 2018, Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 61(5): 1565-1576.

 

 

 

 

 

Online publication labels professor as AI trailblazer

January 18, 2019  |  The Daily Evergreen

Manoj Karkee with drone

The online magazine “Connected World” recognized a WSU associate professor as one of the 2019 artificial intelligence pioneers.

Manoj Karkee, a biological systems engineering associate professor, said the magazine chooses its pioneers based on their use of artificial intelligence, data analytics and technology around the world.

“Other scientists are recognized from different prestigious universities,” Karkee said. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to be selected in that elite group of people.”

Continue Reading on the Daily Evergreen: Online publication labels professor as AI trailblazer

BSE Faculty Manoj Karkee Named 2019 Pioneer in AI and IoT

December 4, 2018  |  Connected World Magazine   |  Carol Stream, Ill.

Manoj Karkee, a professor in the Agricultural Automation Engineering specialty area of Biological Systems Engineering has been selected as a 2019 Pioneers in AI and IoT by Connected World magazine.

The Pioneers in AI and IoT awards highlight the humane, uplifting, and powerful stories of the IoT (Internet of Things) and other emerging technological breakthroughs impacting the good of mankind.

 

The full article can be found on the 11 Professors Prophecies for AI and IoT website.

More information about the Connected World magazine 2019 Pioneers in AI and IoT can be found on the Connected World Press Room Website.

 

Agricultural robots combine future, farming practices

October 26, 2018  |  Pullman, WA  |  Daily Evergreen

Manoj Karkee and Suraj Amatya evaluate a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicleIn a partnership with the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, WSU scientists are working to create agricultural robots to help local farmers and industries maintain and harvest crops efficiently.

The partnership started on Sept. 24, said Manoj Karkee, an assistant professor in the biological systems engineering department at WSU. Both universities will exchange students, which allows them to work in different labs and use different robotic systems. [Continue reading on the Daily Evergreen]

 

 

Story continues on the Daily Evergreen: Agricultural robots combine future, farming practices

WSU, Australian scientists partner to form Joint Center for Ag Robotics

October 1, 2018  |  Pullman, WA

By Scott Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resources Sciences

 

Students with DroneTo speed robotic advancements that help farmers grow food with fewer resources, scientists at Washington State University and Australia’s University of Technology Sydney have partnered to form the new Joint Center for Agricultural Robotics.

The first collaboration of its kind for WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), the partnership joins WSU scientists’ expertise in innovative automation solutions for farms and orchards with pre-eminent research in robotics at the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Centre for Autonomous Systems.

 

[Read more on the WSU Insider: WSU, Australian scientists partner to form Joint Center for Ag Robotics]

 

BSE Faculty Receive 2018 WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards

September 21, 2018  |  Pullman, WA

 

Biological Systems Engineering Faculty Lav Khot and Manoj Karkee received Washington State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards.

 

Lav Khot’s project titled “Alternative pest management technologies for tree fruit and wine grapes” was awarded $249,088.

Abstract: This WSU team, with agricultural engineering, viticulture, plant pathology and entomology expertise, will investigate use of horticultural oil thermotherapy (HOT) and ozonated water sprayer (OWS) applications for effective control of indicator pest and disease species in pear and wine grapes. Both are novel ways to transform commonly-accepted low-risk materials (oil, ozonated water) for improved pest and disease control with minimal chemical residue levels needed for export market. Our project aligns with environmental stewardship goals of using methodologies and products that have minimal off-target impacts and reduced chemical inputs. It bolsters available toolkit for organic pest management, while being equally viable in conventional and IPM-based programs .Our specific project objectives are:(1)to transform our existing laboratory-scale HOT sprayer into a field-appropriate prototype and optimization for pear psyllid, and grape mealybug and powdery mildew control;(2) to evaluate a commercially available OWS to control the above indicator pest and disease species; and (3) to engage local manufacturers to build and distribute these technologies as well as conduct extensive Extension to increase the rate of technology adoption. Objective 1 activities include:(i) HOT sprayer prototyping, (ii) evaluate its application accuracy within different canopy regions of trellised grape and large pear canopies, and (iii) assess control of indicator pest and disease species through field trials. Objective 2 activities include:(i) optimization of OWS, and (ii) bioassay-based mortality assessments with field evaluations. Objective 3 activities will focus on early engagement with growers and equipment manufacturers for meaningful outreach education of field optimized technologies.

 

Manoj Karkee’s project titled ” Precise Mechanical Solution for Vineyard Shoot Thinning” was awarded $195,232.

Abstract: This proposal is submitted by Washington State University. We propose to develop an automated solution for green shoot thinning in wine grapes. Currently, there is about 55,000 acres of wine grapes and about 900 licensed wineries in Washington with ~$5 billion economic impact to the state. Green shoot thinning, an operation to remove some of the shoots from vine cordons, is used to improve spacing and direction of shoot growth, which is essential to create healthy and productive canopies as it improves light penetration and air movement in the canopies. This operation is highly labor-intensive, costing growers >$265/acre/year. Machine thinning can reduce the cost to about ~$10/acre. However, currently available shoot thinners lack desired level of precision and speed, and require skilled operators. Our goal is to develop an automated system for precise positioning of thinning heads of a mechanical thinner. To achieve this goal, we will focus on developing; i) a machine vision system to estimate cordon/trunk location and shoot density; ii) a prototype, pneumatic shoot thinner capable of quickly adjusting thinning roller position for precise removal of target shoots; and iii) an integrated, automated thinning machine and evaluate it in the vineyard environment. By the end of the project, it is expected that our prototype and field validation study will provide sufficient data and information for companies to develop and commercialize the machine. Commercial adoption of this technology will reduce farm labor use and production cost, resulting in a substantial benefit to Washington wine grape industry.

 

Read More on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Ag Briefs Page and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards Abstract Page.

 

 

WSU’s apple picking machine provides potential for future orchard operations

August 27, 2018  |  Tri-Cities, WA

 

Apple season is here; and did you know a person can pick about 30 apples per minute? But, WSU’s new machine can pick those apples in about a second.

The apple picking machine was created by students and faculty at Washington State University. It can be found in a garage while some improvements are made to it. The program is all headed by Dr. Manoj Karkee, an associate professor at WSU.

 

Read more about the project on NBC Right Now: WSU’s apple picking machine provides potential for future orchard operations

 

BSE Faculty and Students Attend ASABE 2018 – Student Wins First Place Award

BSE at ASABE 2018 August 1, 2018  |  Detroit, MI

Faculty and Graduate Students from Biological Systems Engineering attended the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) 2018 Annual Meeting. The event took place  July 29, 2018 – August 01, 2018 in Detroit Michigan.

BSE Faculty included Lav Khot, Troy Peters, Juming TangManoj Karkee, Sindhuja Sankaran, and Qin Zhang.

WSU alumnus Dr. Norman Scott was also in attendance.

 

More information about the meeting can be found on the ASABE Annual Meeting 2018 Website

 

 

Kapil Khanal with ASABE Award

In addition, BSE Master’s student Kapil Khanal (advised by BSE faculty member Dr. Manoj Karkee) won the first place Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award for his research titled “Red Raspberry Bundling and Taping Mechanism.”

More information on the Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award can be found on the ASABE Webiste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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