Forbes, MSN report on how pairing 3D scanning with phenotyping can help feed the world

08/07/2021

By Kanyanta Mubanga

The news these days reads like a catalog of everything wrong in the world at the moment. So every once in a while, it’s refreshing to hear a positive story. When that story involves 3D tech making a real difference? Well, that’s just exciting.

The news that has us giddy with delight right now is about ryegrass. A type of grass that is fed to livestock. And yes, you won’t be the first to observe that “exciting” isn’t exactly high on the list of adjectives you would associate with ryegrass. But improved ryegrass yields would have a significant impact on farmers’ and breeders’ output – something we all know the world needs.

Perennial ryegrass is popular for feeding livestock, but in some places, as much as 20% of the plant’s yield is lost due to early seed shattering

Clearly, ours is a shared view, as we’ve noticed a few others have been enthusiastically sharing this story, too.

Forbes were as inspired as we were, saying in their feature that 3D scanning tech developed for the International Space Station could help feed people on earth. MSN were even more optimistic in their assessment, declaring that 3D scanning, paired with ancient phenotyping skills, could very well end world hunger.

Sounds like something we could all get behind, right? And if you’re wondering what phenotyping actually is: it’s a very specific word for something that can be explained fairly simply — improving crop yields by identifying plants with the most desirable traits.

Using Artec 3D scanners, farmers can more easily identify plants with the most desirable traits and thus improve crop yields

Easier said than done, though. In this case, for example, ryegrass heads previously had to be measured by hand to identify the best plants. But Travis Tubbs, a major with the U.S. Space Force, found that Artec Space Spider vastly simplified the task. The high-resolution 3D scanner enabled him to accurately capture ryegrass spikes and literally count how many seeds certain plants were losing. You can read more about that here.

So, there you have it: a positive, heartwarming, and uplifting story. The realization of these ambitious predictions remains to be seen, but it is certainly encouraging to consider the possibilities and see progress being made. We’ll be rooting all the way.

The MSN article is also featured in German on weltderwunder.de, Focus.de, and msn.com.