Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Weed killing lasers

Weed killing lasers

A team of researchers at the Leibinz University in Hannover, Germany, is on its way to developing an alternative to weed killers and herbicides which would protect those using the chemicals as well as the groundwater contamination.

The use of lasers instead of toxic chemicals has not come without its problems, though. If the lasers have too little energy, the weeds will use it to their advantage and grow even more. The team has worked to determine the optimum laser intensity to kill the weeds rather than encouraging them to grow.

Another issue that has been encountered was recognising which plants would be targeted with the lasers. The researchers have established a system of cameras that film the field with software that measures the contours of every plant  and uses algorithms to recognise the different types of weeds.

Further research is currently being conducted to determine whether robots or drones can bring the equipment into position precisely enough over large areas to effectively recognise and kill the weeds whilst leaving other crops unharmed.

Watch this space.

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