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科学美国人60秒:蔓越莓种植者的福音

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:11-27
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A New Recipe for Counting Cranberries

蔓越莓种植者的福音

Wisconsin is famous for cheese. But it's also the United States' number one producer of a tart, red fruit that’s on pretty much every Thanksgiving dinner table.

威斯康星州以奶酪闻名。但是它也是美国第一大红果塔的产地——这种水果几乎每张感恩节的餐桌上都会有。

"We have this reputation of being the dairy state, but cranberries outnumber the cows." Susan Hagness, an electrical engineer at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

“我们以乳制品而出名,但是蔓越莓在数量上超过了奶制品。”Susan Hagness是威斯康星大学麦迪逊分校的电子工程师。

Cranberries, she says, are big business—they’re the official state fruit! And supply chain managers need estimates of the size of the upcoming harvest. Which can be hard to make.

她表示,蔓越莓是一笔大生意——它们是官方水果。供应链经理需要对未来的收成进行估算。但这很难。

"The current approach for estimating cranberry yield is literally to go out into the field and hand pick and hand count all the cranberries in a one square foot area. This is obviously an inefficient and laborious approach. There can be up to 900 berries per square foot."

目前估算蔓越莓产量的办法就是对一平方英尺的蔓越莓进行手工实地采摘和手工计数、这明显是一个低效、耗力的办法。每平方英尺可以有900个果子。

So scientists from Ocean Spray asked Hagness for help. And she and her team found in lab tests that zapping cranberry plants with microwaves, and then studying the signal that bounces back, might work. Recall that your microwave oven works by exciting water molecules in whatever you’re heating up.

因此来自优鲜沛的科学家向Hagness寻求帮助。她和团队在实验测试中发现,用微波对蔓越莓进行刺激,研究反射回来的信号,可能会起作用。回想你用微波炉加热的东西,刺激里面的水分子。

Same concept here: microwaves interact differently with plump, juicy cranberries—which contain lots of water—than they do with leaves. The return signal thus provides a good estimate of the number of cranberry clusters in a given plot.

同样的理论:微波与丰满、多汁的蔓越莓作用不同——蔓越莓含有大量的水分——与其叶子相比。发射回来的信号可以很好地估计设定的蔓越莓群的数量。

By the way, the microwaves for this application are very low power—on par with the radiation that comes out of a cell phone. "You know we're not cooking the cranberries right there in the field."

此外,这款应用的微波地能耗很低——相当于手机的辐射量。“我们并不是在田野里烹饪啊”

The team presented their preliminary results at an IEEE conference earlier this year.analyzing data from tests done during this year's crop. If the method holds up, it might give cranberry growers something to be thankful for.

团队在今年早些时候在IEEE会议上展现了初期的研究成果,分析了来自今年作物的实验数据。如果此种方法站得住脚,那么会让蔓越莓种植者非常感激。

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