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After an internship at Google, California native and software engineering student Jonathan Moon wanted an opportunity to apply his theoretical computer science knowledge to agriculture. He found it at Cornell University’s Institute for Digital Agriculture.


Jonathan manages a team at the Cyber Agricultural Intelligence and Robotics Lab dedicated to improving agrifood systems by solving challenges in specialty crops industries and environmental sustainability. Extension programs at Cornell enable the group to connect crops experts across Greater Rochester with theoretical scientists specializing in robotics and computer science.

"This [Greater Rochester] area is at the forefront of digital agriculture as a whole across the US."

The goal for Jonathan and his team is to build a digital twin of the agricultural field by taking a three-pronged approach:

1.     Operating robotics 24/7 to patrol the field and collect data on plants

2.     Using modern computer vision and artificial intelligence for 3D reconstruction from images to a 3D virtual world

3.     Extracting valuable 3D traits to determine what cultivars are better suited for the environment than others

This virtual representation will give farmers actionable insights on things like where to apply more fertilizer, where to look for diseases and how to estimate crop load for the season.

Because Greater Rochester is home to a variety of specialty crops, including apples and grapes, Jonathan says it provides an ideal test bed for their robots and research.

“There’s a huge growth of interest in bridging the gap between the farmers, breeders and growers and the technicians, specialists, scientists and engineers … It's an awesome movement and I'm excited to be at the forefront.”

Aside from the thrill of the innovative work he’s conducting, Jonathan enjoys the abundant and flavorful offerings of local restaurants, wineries, breweries and cideries around the region.

“It's awesome to literally experience the fruits of the farmers' and growers' labors here.”

As robotic advancements developed by Jonathan and the Cornell AgriTech team benefit the local (and global) agriculture industry, they will also help boost Greater ROC’s buzzworthy food and beverage scene that much more. And we’re way geeked out about that.  


We’ve only skimmed the surface of Greater community stories, so check back frequently on our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube to dig deeper.


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