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Grapes, robots and saints

Grapes, robots and saints
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Grape producers in the Shimane region of Japan have a new weapon in their fight to keep crops irrigated – the mobile phone.

All it takes is click of a phone camera and some software to analyze the state of the vine leaves and determine if they need more water.

Pictures of the leaves are analyzed by the phone’s software which then assigns a rate of growth to the plants.

This is then transmitted to a greenhouse computer which then determines how much water to send to the vines.

“Maria” is a robot capable of doing the housework. It has been invented by students and professors of the Portuguese University of Minho and is taking part in the robot world championships , RoboCup 2010, in Singapore. Also in Portugal, Aveiro University has developed these football-playing robots. The aim is to promote research and education in the field of artificial intelligence – although there are those who say they could be put to good use in the current World Cup.

And, deep under the streets of Rome, art restorers and archaeologists have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s apostles. The images in the catacombs on the Via Ostense were painted at the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th. New laser technology has been crucial in uncovering the paintings. The laser burns off the first color that it encounters and stops as soon as it finds a different color. So it eliminates the first coating and uncovered the icons.