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Honeywell Futurist Competition 1991 Antti Hannula - The Farm of the Future

Honeywell Futurist Competition 1991 Antti Hannula - The Farm of the Future

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Published by Antti Hannula
Honeywell Futurist Competition 1991: The Farm of the Future, by Antti Hannula

The silence of the farm yard is broken by a faint noise. It is caused by the feeding instruments in the production building. It's already eight o'clock, but the farmer and his family are still sleeping. Yes, on the farm of the future you don't have to do everything yourself. Technology has come to the rescue.
Honeywell Futurist Competition 1991: The Farm of the Future, by Antti Hannula

The silence of the farm yard is broken by a faint noise. It is caused by the feeding instruments in the production building. It's already eight o'clock, but the farmer and his family are still sleeping. Yes, on the farm of the future you don't have to do everything yourself. Technology has come to the rescue.

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Published by: Antti Hannula on Jul 22, 2009
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Technology
in
the Work Environment
The
Farm
of
the Future
The silence
of
the
fann
yard is broken by a faint noise.
1t
is caused by the feedinginstruments in the production building. 1t's already eight o'clock, but the
fanner
and hisfamily are still sleeping. Yes, on the
fann
of
the future you don't have to do everythingyourself. Technology has come to the rescue.On the fann, located in the south
of
Finland, modern technology is used extensively. Thefarm is like any other modern company in the sense that it aims for the biggest possibleprofit. This is made possible by a high degree
of
automation and the great productioncapacity. The greenhouse effect has also had a rather positive influence on the agriculturalconditions in Finland.Cattle fanning
is
part
of
the farm's production prograrn. The ultimate goal is to producegood quality meat with no extra fat by selective breeding, and do it
as
fast as possible.Special attention has been paid to the functionality
of
the production building.The capacity
of
the building is one thousand animals. Division into three separate unitsintroduces a new kind
of
functionality. The upper part
of
the south wall is made
of
special glass that can be darkened electrically. The darkness control takes advantage
of
the intemal particles
of
the glass, which can be controlled with certain electrical pulses.The position
of
the particles determines the amount
of
sun rays passing through the wall.After a turn has occurred the particles stay
in
their new position permanently withoutmaintenance by further electrical pulses.During the winter the windows are normally clear
to
enable the heatwaves
to
he
used
in
the building's heating.
1n
summer they are darkened down
to
a degree required to keepthe building cool.The glass wall is constructed
of
multiple panes, which can be opened independently. Thewindows have openers with slips made
of
two different alloys that have different thermalexpansion coefficients. As the temperature rises the difference causes the pane to open.The opening
of
the panes can also
he
disabled electrically.The air conditioning
of
the production building is taken care by effective machinery.
1t
iscontrolled by a sensor based on modem cellular technology.
1t
monitors the conditionsinside, keeping account
of
the temperature, humidity and the quality
of
the air. The airconditioning system, like each machine on the fann, is connected to the main computer.At the outlet
of
the system there
is
a odour removal device. Its purpose is to diminish the
odom
nuisance caused to the environment.
1ts
operation is based on a simple yet efficientchemical reaction.A variation
of
this reaction is used to remove the adour from the manure. After theremoval it can
he
used as a component in a modem chemical fertilizer which can then bespread to the fields. The new substance has none
of
the side-effects
of
the chemicalfertilizers used in the twentieth century.The animal noise carped over from the production building is eliminated with the help
of
avery fast, dedicated computer.
1t
analyses the noise and produces a sound wave with anamplitude exactly opposite to that
of
the original. When the two sound waves meet, theresultant wave --in theory, at least --has an arnplitude
of
zero, and is therefore inaudible.
 
concentration
of
the air in the premises are also constantly monitored with electrical andbiological methods.Because
of
these strict
demandsfor
clean environment, access to the premises iscontrolled and unauthorised personnel are not allowed in. A security check is performedusing fingerprint scanning. The weight
of
the person is also measured, but a tolerance
of
a few kilograms is allowed. This method leaves no doubt as to the identity
of
the person.Although indoor cultivation has been developed extensively, in some parts
of
productionthe traditionai farming methods are still used. The modem machines used
in
tilling thesoil have come a long way from those used before the tum
of
the century.The basic device is a new kind
of
tractor that can be transformed to meet a variety
of
needs because
of
its modular construction. It has
an
electric motor powered by alightweight high-energy battery. The motor's torque has been developed to the fullest.Equipment can be fastened to the tractor with durable plug connectors to the front, the rearand the sides
of
the tractor, as well as under it.The tractor's frame is made out
of
a light but steel-hard new material that endures heavyuse. Because the tractor is lightweight
it
can be used on watery or otherwise difficultfields.Electro-pneumatic regulator and sensors control the motor and the equipment and monitorservicing needs. The equipment is also modular
in
itself, which
in
many cases meansadjustable capacities. They are integrated to the tractor
in
terms
of
control andconnections.The thrasher
is
also the latest in technology.
It
is a lightweight, fast, and handy robotcontrolled vehicle. During thrashing the grain is cut
by
a laser beam. If some
of
the grainhas been laid fiat, it is lifted up by a powerful blower-suction device.Robot control enables the thrasher to complete its task without being constantly monitoredby a human. The control system
is
based on artificial intelligence and fault-tolerantcomponents. It can spot and steer clear
of
obstacles on the field, such as rocks. Thethrasher transmits information about the thrashing process and possible problemsencountered to the central network, whence it can
be
retrieved by the personnel from theterminai closest to them.The control centre
of
the farm is located
in
the main building. The heart
of
the system is
an
extremely fast neuron computer based on neural network technology. Whencomrnunicating with the computer all the usual means
--
the keyboard, the mouse, "theelectronic glove", speech control, or finger-pointing
--
can be used. The electronic gloveis basically
an
ordinary glove with integrated sensors that measure the movements
of
thehand.The farm and its computer system are not in isolation
in
the midst
of
the scarcelypopulated countryside. It is connected to the wideband Integrated Services DigitalNetwork (ISDN II). A workstation also incIudes a special chair that automatically adjustsitself to each individual person's ergonomic needs. While lying comfortably in the chairyou can ask the computer to present the day's intemational market prices for variousfarming products. The information is gathered from the Agricultural Information Centreby a database server. While you're at it you can also ask for a sales forecast in order todevelop your plans for equipment acquisitions and sales.The artificial intelligence system takes into account the farmer's personality andcharacteristics and offers a helping hand with such tasks as completing tax returns andmaintaining accounts.
 
Unfortunately, because there are extremely fast and unpredictable changes in the noise itis impossible to eliminate the noise completely. The result is still pleasingly quiet.A small nuclear plant, based on the finally completed fusion technology, provides thefarm with all the energy it needs. The plant resembles a footbalI with a number
of
cablesfastened to it. Because
of
its small size
it is
not too difficult to find room for it.
As
anenergy source,
it
is extremely safe, and completely noiseless.
1t
is fuelled by sea water,which is available in ample measure.The building is divided into compartments with room for fifteen animals each. Eachcompartment is divided into nutrition and "recreation" areas. Using controis, the animalscan be directed between the two areas when necessary, making the cleaning
of
anindividual area effortless.Each animal has a unique identification plate plastered
to
its neck. The plate helpsmaintain an individual nutrition program for the animal by responding to a signal sent bythe feeding instruments. This ensures that each animal gets the proper amount
of
nutrition, no more, no less, so that breeding becomes as effective and economic aspossible.While not being fed the animals are kept in the recreation area. Background music
is
played
to
relieve stress, and to keep the building clean and cool
in
the summer there areautomatic showers for the animals. The showers are no luxury -they improve theanimals'
Ii
ving conditions.
1n
the preparation and distribution
of
the food a traditionalliquid nutrition system is used.The materials are gathered
to
the mixing container from the various silos and then mixedthere under computer control. The ingredients are measured with a sensitive electronicscale with reasonable accuracy.The distribution valves are controlled
by
air pressure and logic circuits. The amount
of
liquid sent down the tubes depends
on
the individual needs
of
the animals.Cultivation is another part
of
the farm's production program.
1n
addition to the traditionaisoil cultivation, indoor cultivation under controlled conditions is an increasingly usedmethod
of
production.
1t
enables the farmer to get yields quickly regardless
of
theseason.The area
of
the grain production building is a little over two hundred square meters.
1t
isabout twenty meters high. 1nside the building there is a network
of
troughs containingplatforms one meter in diameter.At one end
of
a trough, seeds are planted on the platform. The platforms move along thetroughs, maintaining their horizontal position. The seeds are fertilized with a specialliquid, and at the other end
of
the trough the grain is ripe for cutting. After it is cut, thegrain is automatically transported to wait for drying. By controlling the length and speed
of
the troughs it is possible to adjust the speed
of
the cycle and the ripeness
of
theresulting crop.The production capacity
of
the equipment is approximately tenfold when compared
to
traditional cultivation methods. By using this new method the cultivation area can beutilized
aIot
more efficiently
--
also vertically. All kinds
of
pests and weeds can beeliminated because the process executes in a controlled environment.The conditions must constantly stay the same, though, and entrance
of
bacteria and otherdetriments to the cultivation areas must be stopped at all cost. Therefore the airconditioning equipment contains microbe filters. The temperature, humidity, and

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