Pepper Picking Robot

Here is an interesting article which turns several science fiction items into science fact:  Who needs farmers?

To summarize, the robot has a combination of optical sensor suited for detecting color, a prehensile grip, and a self-contained environment for operating.  The robotic pepper picker might not look that sexy as far as science fiction ideas portend, but let’s cross reference a few movies.


In the movie series which started with Predator (from 1987 no less), Arnold Schwarzenegger realizes that the  aliens detect infrared heat signatures.  The simple counter is to cover one’s body with cool, dark mud.  In the same way, if you cover one of the red peppers with mud, the robot becomes confused and skips the pepper.

In the movie, Minority Report (from 2002), greenhouse scene, Tom cruise comes face to face with one of the top scientists of the age. Genetically engineered plants attack him in his quest for answers about the house-crushing robot which almost killed him.



Like with most transitions from science fiction to science fact, the road is usually filled with baby steps.  Currently, the holy grail of fruit picking robots is a machine which can pick coffee beans.  Coffee cherries ripen irregularly and are hard to manipulate, not to mention the tropical climate of the growing region.  The robotic pepper picker is the next step toward that goal, and how long before some billionaire creates a greenhouse the size of a small city filled with nothing more than robots who can see red and harvest the coffee crop 24/7.

So this farmer’s job seems fairly safe for another generation!


In my latest novel, Vampires of Niagara, I have a futuristic greenhouse in which the plants and worms are infected with a strain of the vampiric virus. My amazon author page  Later on in the novel, I used an iconic plant as an idea for a genetically mutant tree:  here the facsimile–Seymore from A Little Shop of Horrors (movie 1986, Broadway 2003-2016).



About aaronlfuller

Latin teacher and indie author
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