VR chickens and robot bees feature in new Science Gallery Dublin exhibit

10 Mar 2016

Austin Stewart a chicken using his 'Second Livestock' headset, a virtual reality world for battery-farmed chickens. Image via Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Starting 11 March, the Science Gallery Dublin will begin an exhibition that puts future farming under the microscope and explore what the coming decades hold for agritech in Ireland and abroad.

Given Ireland’s connection with agriculture, both historically and in terms of its importance to the current Irish economy, it’s pretty important that those from both a scientific and farming background get to grips with the latest technological offerings out there.

With climate change becoming ever-more present globally, affecting our food supply now and in the future, much has been made of how we can meet growing demand, without destroying the environment.

This will be one of the overarching themes of a new exhibit beginning from 11 March at the Science Gallery Dublin called Field Test: Radical Adventures In Future Farming.

It’s hoped that the exhibition will present a broad mix of designs, research, artworks, business products, technology, systems and techniques that have the potential to transform the ways we will farm in the future.

Virtual reality chickens and flying robot bees

It’s safe to say there are some particularly imaginative solutions set to go on display, including ‘Second Livestock’, a virtual reality proposal to make chickens think they are free range; as well as ‘Stir Fly: The Nutrient Bug 1.0’, a domestic bioreactor for harvesting and growing insect meat.

There are also going to be flying robot bees, bricks made from mushrooms and the LOCI Food Lab which will create a personalised snack for visitors when they select food characteristics important to them, such as biodiverse, efficient or delicious.

Speaking at the launch today Lynn Scarff, Director at Science Gallery Dublin, said: “From robotic bees to oyster mushrooms growing in coffee grounds, Field Test will give visitors an immersive experience that will explode their preconceptions about the art and science of farming, provoking some essential questions about the complex decisions we will need to make about land use and production in the future.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic