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Kyoto facility aims to harvest 500,000 heads of lettuce a day.

The mere mention of Kyoto conjures up images of courtly tradition and culture stretching back hundreds of years. Soon enough, though, Kyoto Prefecture might also have a technological first not only for Japan, but for the entire planet.

Spread, a company based in Kyoto Prefecture’s Kameoka City, sells produce grown in its “vegetable factory,” as it refers to its indoor growing facility. An upcoming expansion will not only increase Spread’s lettuce output, but also mark a dramatic change in how the company, and perhaps someday other agricultural organizations, handle their daily operations.

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In the new section of the vegetable factory, human workers will still handle the original planting of seeds in plots of soil stacked on shelves. From that point on, though, the rest of the farming will be done by robots. The machines will take care of transplanting, watering, trimming, and harvesting the plants, which will be grown without the use of pesticides.

▼ A selection of Spread’s current products

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Automated systems will also control the temperature, as well as the humidity, light, and CO2 levels, of the growing area. Spread is aiming to have growing underway at the robot-operated farm by the middle of next year, with the goal of harvesting 500,000 heads of lettuce a day five years after that.

While the news no doubt fills the hearts of technophiles with joy, it should be pointed out that the robots won’t be humanoid. Instead, they’ll take on the form of conveyor belt-mounted mechanical appendages with whatever attachments they need to perform their assigned tasks. So while you’ll soon be able to eat robo-lettuce in Japan, don’t expect Spread to be putting Gundam on its payroll, regardless of however mobile he becomes.

Source: The Guardian via Gigazine via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Spread
Insert images: Spread (1, 2) (edited by RocketNews24)