'Big Ideas' series continues Jan. 17

The Agricultural Research Division's "Big Ideas Seminars" continue with three presentations in January and February. Each lecture is free and open to the public.

The next seminar is "New Concepts in Agricultural Automation," presented Jan. 17 by Simone Blackmore in the East Union. An informal discussion starts at 2 p.m., with a 3 p.m. reception and a 3:30 p.m. seminar.

Blackmore, professor at Harper Adams University College in England, is a key figure in the development of precision farming and agricultural robotics. He worked for 12 years in Africa and Europe before starting his academic career and now collaborates with many universities around the world to help develop precision farming and agricultural robotics. His presentation will discuss how smarter machines will save time and money.

The ARD's seminar series hopes to build big ideas and collaborations among faculty members not only at UNL, but across all University of Nebraska campuses.

Other presentations in the series are:

— Jan. 22, David Jacobs, 2 p.m. informal discussion, 110 Avery Hall; 3 p.m. reception, 348 Avery Hall; 3:30-4:30 p.m. seminar, 115 Avery Hall, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UNL City Campus, "Using Computer Vision for Species Identification."

— Feb. 1, Lie Tang, 2 p.m. informal discussion, 3 p.m. reception, 3:30-4:30 seminar, Nebraska East Union, UNL East Campus, "Plant Recognition for Robotic Weeding: Challenges and Opportunities."

Jacobs is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment in the university's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Jacobs' research has focused on human and computer vision, especially in the areas of object recognition and perceptual organization. He will describe the first mobile app for identifying plant species using automatic visual recognition. The system called LeafSnap identifies tree species from photographs of their leaves. In addition, he will discuss some recent work on animal species identification.

Tang is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. His research program focuses on the development of robotic and intelligent systems for agricultural applications such as robotic weeding. He will present his research findings in crop and weed recognition, and share his vision about how the technological advancements in sensing and computation may enable us to invent new weeding tools that can maximize weed control efficacy while minimizing their environmental footprint.

For more information, go to http://bigideaseminars.unl.edu.