1999 - Volume #23, Issue #4, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
What We Need Now Is A "Smart" Ear of Corn
The "smart spud" is shaped like an average-sized potato but it's filled with electronic sensors and a transmitter. The idea is to use it to calibrate harvesting or grading equipment to do the least amount of damage to the real potatoes going through. The "smart spud" rides along through the equipment with the other potatoes, and sends data to a hand-held computer-receiver that displays the data. It gives an easy-to-read analysis of what's going on within parts of the machine that aren't visible.
"It's as easy to use as a stop watch and doesn't require a computer or other special software," says inventor Frank Pirie of Pirie Crop Storage Systems, Dundonald, Ayrshire, England.
It seems like a great idea to us. Why not create a "smart" ear of corn that you could run through a combine to ensure that it's set properly? With computer chips continuing to shrink, maybe they could even create "smart soybeans" or "smart wheat".
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