Soil and Soil Robotics: Applications and Challenges

Cross-listed from VIEN 4940,  Robert Shepherd and Anand Mishra, Cornell University


Location: Zoom

Time: 2:55p.m.

Abstract: Soil, the microbiome, and plant roots represent a critical frontier in terrestrial carbon sequestration. But the opacity of land, coupled with the heterogeneity and dynamic nature of the soil-microbe-root system, has severely limited direct observations. Here, we will discuss how to develop a suite of technology to provide dynamic access to the rhizosphere (root-soil interface) for multi-modal sensing of chemical and biological parameters with a focus on in-situ soil, water, and carbon interactions. In particular, we will discuss, nature of soil, plant, rhizosphere, and borrowing mechanism of biological organisms, especially plants. We will also see how plant root could be an ideal model for soil exploration robot and its mechanism of root growth, energy efficiency, sensing, and low fiction strategy. Also, we will have a look at our current robotic prototype (SoilBot), which aims to study soil properties, track the root inside the soil and study root excretions and microbiome exudation (metabolites and volatiles) in real-time.