Friday, February 23, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Rogers 226

Speaker Information

Joe Davidson
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Newman Lab for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The United Nations (U.N.) predicts that the world’s population will exceed 9 billion by the year 2050. To support the increased consumption expected to coincide with urbanization and rising incomes in the developing world, the U.N. estimates that food production must grow by 70% from current levels. However, increasing uncertainty surrounding the future availability of labor is causing rising concern in agricultural sectors heavily dependent on seasonal workforces. While advances in sensor technologies have advanced precision agriculture, there has been limited success in developing robotic systems for tasks requiring physical interaction with delicate crops in unstructured environments (e.g. harvesting, pruning, and thinning). In this presentation, I will discuss recent work on robotic apple harvesting in modern orchard systems. Topics covered will include the general approach, system design, field evaluation results, and opportunities for performance improvement. I will also talk about recent work to develop new actuator technologies for rehabilitation robots and how research themes from the field of physical human-machine interaction could advance agricultural robotics.