The basic concept
The idea to construct human-like machines – or robots – comes from the need to solve complex tasks that would normally need humans, but in an environment that is not suited for humans. In this case, it is the ideal environment for lettuce. As the technology has developed to be able to solve more and more complex problems, it should not be difficult to come up with solutions to solve major problems of mankind like world hunger with robots. With this idea in mind, the first farm entirely run by robots was developed (from the company “Spread”).
The entire farm is able to produce 30,000 heads of lettuce per day. This is only possible because of the ideal climate that is inside the building. Because of the absence of other life forms like humans, the lettuce also does not need any kind of protection against bacteria. Each head of lettuce is also monitored through sensors and the robots to make sure that the whole facility always works at the highest possible rate of efficiency and if any lettuce does not grow like it should, it is analyzed and the system will be improved.
Not only have the high efficiency and ecofriendly benefits made the difference. The use of robots has also reduced the cost and (and very important) reduced the water usage drastically. About 98% of the water needed to grow the lettuce is recycled and can be reused.
There are unlimited possibilities that are created when no human being is needed for a facility and nearly all of the used resources (e.g., water) can be reused. The first step would be to build the facility in third world countries where food and especially water is not sufficient enough for a whole country. Because of the reuse of water, establish a basic source of food could be established even if there is not enough water.
And, more of an idea than an existing concept, this facility could be used in outer space like on a Mars missions. A smaller version could be established directly on Mars to supply all the scientists on their missions with food even if there is a problem and they need to stay longer on Mars than planned. Of course would have to be sent with the crew, but it would be less than sending all the food that this facility could produce.
Student at Technikum Wien University