Agri-TechE’s flagship REAP Conference on the 8th of November 2023 was an engaging networking event aimed at connecting a diverse range of participants, particularly start-up companies and small businesses. The conference was designed to foster collaborative opportunities and facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships.
The AgriFoRwArdS CDT was represented at the Conference by a team from The University of Cambridge, Professor Fumiya Iida (CDT Deputy Director), Professor Fulvio Forni, (Co-Investigator), Narges Khadem Hosseini (Principal Technician), and Yi Zhang (AgriFoRwArdS PhD Student). The team had the opportunity to interact with prominent names and influential partners in the agricultural sector such as G’s Fresh Ltd, The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), and Tesco, among others. The complete list can be found here.
One of the conference highlights was the exhibition sector, which provided businesses and institutions with a platform to showcase their products and innovations. The University of Cambridge delegation seized this opportunity to demonstrate ‘Foodly’, a visually guided robot designed by RT-Corporation, and who’s software was developed and adapted at the University of Cambridge.
During the conference, ‘Foodly’ drew significant attention from visitors who were interested in its capabilities. The robot excels in pick-and-place operations, efficiently transferring food items from a tray and depositing them into containers moving along a serving line. The demonstration aimed to highlight the possibilities of integrating ‘Foodly’ into the UK’s future food market. Some PhD/Master students expressed keen interest in utilising the robot within the educational sector, specifically for deploying vision-based tasks. Additionally, potential partners explored opportunities to scale up the production of ‘Foodly’ in the future.
The REAP Agri-TechE Conference proved to be a valuable platform for knowledge exchange, networking, and showcasing ground-breaking technologies. The University of Lincoln and University of East Anglia were also at the event, with UEA student James Bennett flying the flag for AgriFoRwArdS at the Lincoln stand, where he had the opportunity to interact with many industrial partners and future PhD students. AgriFoRwArdS’ participation in the event not only facilitated engagement but also opened doors to potential collaborations and opportunities within the agri-tech sector.