Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Multi-crop Auto Planting machine.

Automatic garden planter.
  (+4)
(+4)
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This is a self propelled, single row, multiple crop planting system for home garden use.

Propulsion is gas or electric (ok, electric is fine). 4 carrying wheels (2 are driven) approx 1ft diameter, 4" wide, chevron tread.

Guidance is acheived with a Stationary tripod camera which will allow for 1cm accuracy.

Seed is placed in one of 10 (or so) hopper-like compartments.

The garden layout is plotted onto a bitmap. This includes row location and seed type. The bitmap is loaded into the on-board computer.

The planting machine is placed in or near the garden. Beer is drank whilst garden is sown.

Automatic row identifying system is also available (so you know what the dog dug up).

knowtion, Mar 13 2009

been there Garden_20Gnomes
done that [FlyingToaster, Mar 13 2009]

[link]






       Assumes a fairly flat, uniform garden, free of obstacles, which is not to everyone's taste. On the other hand, it could encourage more adventurous companion planting, with layouts (bitmaps) exchanged on the blagosphere.   

       With such precision, rows could be abandoned in some cases, and replaced with regular geometric spacings, which can give better results in some cases.   

       sp. Beer is drunk. We drank beer. We are drunk. You're my bestestest friend in the whole world, and I'm not just saying that, no lissen...
spidermother, Mar 13 2009
  

       Doesn't need to be flat. Obstacles are programmed into bitmap. Children/pets are restricted from garden during planting operation. Uniformity of garden soil will affect crop yeild. But planting machine will plant regardless.   

       Plant spacing can be experimented with. However, allowance for human access to pull weeds and harvest needs consideration.
knowtion, Mar 13 2009
  

       How does one acquire this bitmap? Does the machine have a mapping mode?
ryokan, Mar 13 2009
  

       Good question ryokan. Yes, the machine does happen to have a mapping mode... why not? You start with an arial photo of your garden. Specify point obstacles (post, rock etc.) These points would be given an 2D area definition on a laptop computer. The bitmap could also be drawn from scratch if layout is simple enough. ie. 20 x 20ft square of soil.
knowtion, Mar 13 2009
  

       The beer is good, but yer not gettin' my vote 'till you throw in some strippers.
marquisdenet, Mar 13 2009
  

       Can I put them in an annotation, or do you need to see them in the main idea text?
knowtion, Mar 13 2009
  

       A link would probably work best.   

       I'm willing to wager that robotic planters are baked - perhaps not fully autonomous, but possibly. Corporate farming is over the top these days. See the movie "King Corn".
normzone, Mar 14 2009
  

       @normzone The part of this idea that is new (knock on wood), is the multi-crop side of it. This wouldn't work for large scale farming because when planting, they have to refill their hopper many times before they finish a specific crop. In a garden application however, one little bag of seeds is all that is needed for a particular crop.
knowtion, Mar 15 2009
  

       I like it, but would suggest that a "walking" variant using robotic legs also be available; this would allow the machine to not roll it's wheels over the seeds just planted, and would allow it to walk over certain types of obstacles (the edges of raised beds, or even terraced gardens)
goldbb, Mar 15 2009
  
      
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