Wetenschap - 15 november 2001

English Summary

Wageningen will be a restaurant richer for the first three weeks of December.

The Happietaria will be open in the La Fraternit? building in the Niemeijerstraat, where volunteers from a number of Christian student organisations will offer evening meals for about fifteen guilders. The proceeds will go to the ecumenical bureau for support and development in Congo (BOAD), and will be used to help refugees and improve infrastructure. This is the first time that a Happietaria has been opened in Wageningen. Other university towns, including Amsterdam, Groningen and Utrecht, have already had experience of them. Happietaria Wageningen will be open from 28 November to 21 December, Tuesday to Friday from 17.45 to 22.00.

The construction and installation of a new computer network for Wageningen UR is likely to cost around 23 million guilders.

At present DLO and the university have separate networks, which prevents shared access to documents for researchers. DLO uses the Agronet of the ministry of agriculture, but can only do so until May 2002. The university's network is overloaded and needs replacing. The 23 million will go on computers, cables and software; personnel costs have not been included. The new network will use Microsoft Windows 2000 and Exchange, and Outlook e-mail programme, with new standardised e-mail addresses and much bigger mailboxes. For university personnel this will come as an improvement: 100 megabytes will replace the current five to ten megabyte space.

Agrotechnological Research Institute ATO has come up with a plan for a hundred million guilder test factory.

The idea is to provide food manufacturers with facilities for pilot testing new products. 'Foodturoscope', as it has been provisionally named, will make state of the art machinery available to encourage the development of innovative processes which use alternative raw materials and waste products, natural preservatives and more efficient packaging. It can also fulfil an educational role for consumers and government, for instance by using webcams to record activities, and by offering products in a special canteen. Students in Wageningen and Ede will also be able to gain practical experience in the development of machinery. Plans are still at the preliminary stage, and finance is now being sought.

The Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (IMAG) has come up with a cucumber picking robot that passed greenhouse tests with flying colours.

The robot managed to find 95 percent of the ripe cucumbers and successfully pick 80 to 90 percent of these. Researchers call these results 'hopeful'. The robot uses a close-up infrared camera to detect water, and as cucumbers contain more water than the leaves and stems of the plants they are fairly easy to spot. The robot then calculates the water volume to decide whether the cucumber is ready for harvesting. 'Stereo vision' and a seven-jointed arm enable the robot to cut the cucumber off at the stem, as long as it is not too curved.

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