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Lasers halt crop losses

Automated bird deterrent lasers decrease bird damage up to 90%

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A new laser bird deterrent technology has been successfully used at South American crops. The technology is designed and manufactured by the Dutch company Bird Control Group, which says “agrilaser technology” is proven to decrease crop losses by 70% to 90 %.

In South America, pest birds like eared doves destroy between 5% and 25% of crops at farms every year, resulting in enormous monetary losses to small farmers as well as large agricultural operations, especially in crops like sunflowers. A lot of bird damage also occurs in high yield orchards with fruits like cherries, table grapes and blueberries. Many fruit growers in Chile and Peru are suffering from great losses due the attacks of birds when the colour of the fruit changes throughout their ripening process.

Bodega Catena Zapata Farm was one of the many Argentinian farms experiencing significant grape losses due to the local parrot flocks. In order to protect their grapes effectively, they decided to test the Agrilaser Autonomic automated laser bird deterrent system. The technology is inspired by nature and takes advantage of a bird’s natural instinct: birds perceive the approaching laser beam as a physical danger and disperse to seek safety. Due to the installation of Agrilaser Autonomic, Bodega Catena Zapata successfully reduced the presence of parrots by almost 100% and saved thousands of dollars on bird damage.

Agricola EU used the technology to avoid losses in a cherry farm in Chile. Germán González, the operations manager, decided to try Agrilaser after experiencing difficulties with choosing the right bird deterrent to protect the crops. With this installatio, he achieved immediate results and reduced the crop losses by 90%.

Positive results have been also observed at Syngenta, a global producer of agrochemicals and seeds. The Syngenta sunflower seed producer in Argentina was experiencing a problem with pigeons and parrots destroying sunflowers and eating the seeds. They tried bird watchers and fireworks, but none of these methods gave long-term results. After the Autonomic was installed, bird presence has decreased by 80%.

Mirko Yakasovic, a Chilean producer of table grapes,  saved 165 600 kg of grapes across 76 hectares by using this bird repellent system. Prior to the installation, pest birds used to eat up to 50% of his crops.

“Compared to the other methods, the laser simply works, giving me a peace of mind for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he claims. “The birds do not get used to the Autonomic Laser, deterring birds and reducing the damage drastically.”

Bird Control Group serves customers in aviation, agriculture, industry, oil & gas, recreation and real estate. Customers include Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Shell and Total.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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