“Digital Twins” – How Computers Change Gardening – NZ Herald

Digital Image of Mango Tree by Dr. Like Han. Photo / Presented

Scientists at the University of Queensland are creating “digital twins” of mango and macadamia fruit farms to increase food production using technology known to computer gamers.

Queen Nina Miter, director of the Center for Horticultural Science at the Center for Agriculture and Food Innovation (CAI), said the computers were an example of how the industry has changed.

Developing a digital model of fruit farming in low-growing crops such as mango and macadamia allows us to conduct virtual experiments as quickly and efficiently as possible, Miter said.

“Unprecedented acceleration in digital technologies will help make food production more productive, robust and sustainable.

Lead researcher Dr. Liqi Han says the technology is particularly useful for slow-growing crops such as fruit trees.

“Digital modeling provides users with untapped opportunities to quickly test new ideas and find a better guide on how to optimize production systems,” Han said.

We call this technology “DJ Hort”, for digital gardening.

Computer simulations can be a pre-existing garden, a copy of the digital twins or an existing orchard, or a digital design for changes to the digital twins.

“All three forms can be combined with local and administrative simulations,” Han said.

“For example, this may include exposure to sunlight and chemical sprays to evaluate and facilitate fruit production.

Virtual experiments begin with a design, in which software users can determine the density of the roofs and the configuration of the rows in a landscape to plant trees.

Users then explore how to care for the trees, using imaginative pruning and the impact of various – even unusual – tree training systems.

This innovation is based on new LiDAR scanning technology applications with industry partners, Real Australia and state government research stations in Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory.

He relies on HPC to perform extremely fast virtual experiments without losing accuracy.

“These days we talk a lot about real farming,” says Han.

Dr. Liquy Han with the Earth's LiDAR scanner in the field.  Photo / Presented
Dr. Liquy Han with the Earth’s LiDAR scanner in the field. Photo / Presented

We increase accuracy by looking at the details of how much light each leaf or fruit can hold, or by spraying sprayed chemicals on the curtain.

“We can save small profits to big profits or prevent big losses.

And we find that small differences can have a big impact.

The DigiHort platform is designed for industry as a decision support service and will be accessible online.


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