The Institute - September 2018 - 4

I F YO U ' V E V I S I T E D California and are a wine enthusiast like
I am, you've probably taken a tasting tour of some of the state's
many wineries. But did you know vintners in the Central and
Napa valleys are facing a shortage of both water and workers?
I was relieved to learn that these problems might be eased by
the Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery system featured
in our cover story [right]. RAPID uses inexpensive, adjustable,
plastic water emitters attached to the holes in drip-irrigation
lines. Instead of farm workers facing the tedious job of adjusting
the hundreds of controls each vineyard needs, battery-operated
robots will handle the task.
Meanwhile, cranberry growers are looking for a technological
solution to their dilemma: how to accurately and efficiently estimate the size and quality of their crop. Assistant Editor Amanda
Davis was surprised to learn the current method is to harvest
the berries within 1 square foot (929 square centimeters) of
a bog or marsh, count them by hand, and extrapolate from
there. On page 6, she writes about how Ocean Spray, a leading
producer of cranberry products, is working with researchers at
the University of Wisconsin on a microwave scanning system to
automate the process.
These are just some of the technologies the agriculture
industry is beginning to employ. Such "agtech" innovations can
help increase food production for a growing population, reduce
farming's environmental impact, and yield data about crops that
could be applied to increase profits.
The field is attracting venture capitalists. Last year US $2.6 billion was raised for developing new farm technology innovations.
If you have an idea for your own agtech venture, learn
where to find opportunities and investors from my "Plenty of
Money to Be Made in the Emerging AgTech Field" article on
page 7. (Read about other projects in our online special report:
If you enjoy attending sports events but can't get great
seats down front, you'll likely end up watching at least some of
the action on the venue's giant-screen televisions. Mitsubishi
Electric's Diamond Vision was the first really large-scale, video
display system to allow the crowd to see the athletes up close.
On page 8, you can learn the history of the groundbreaking
38-year-old technology, which was recently honored with an
IEEE Milestone.
Also in this issue is a selection of responses to three blog
entries that stirred many readers to voice their opinions. One
post discusses the culture in academe of "publish or perish" and
whether it's hurting research. In another, Associate Editor Monica
Rozenfeld asked readers what they thought of companies using
artificial intelligence programs in their hiring process. And to help
those who score a job interview, I asked hiring managers what
candidates should wear if they want to impress them.
-Kathy Pretz, editor in chief

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Institute - September 2018

The Institute - September 2018 - 1
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