FIELD TEST - TY guest blog post

After three months and over 100,000 visitors FIELD TEST closed last Sunday. In case you missed it one of our awesome TY students, Sam, caught the final week of the exhibition and wrote up his thoughts. 

The Science Gallery Dublin’s recently closed exhibition FIELD TEST focuses on agriculture while investigating innovative new ways of farming efficiently and sustainably. These new ways consist of brand new technology and biological experiments to enhance production on the farm, and make life easier for farmers and animals. Some of these advancements include ‘microgreens’- plant shoots used to produce more proteinous plants, and aquaponics, a method in which fish fertilise soils with waste to help growth above the tank.

As well as this, a state of the art food lab has been introduced. The LOCI Food Lab is a high tech snack store where you choose three attributes out of 15, and you receive a range of snacks, based on the attributes you put in. Some of these attributes include ‘delicious’, ‘vegan’ and ‘affordable’. Some of the available snacks include Irish cooking apples and black pudding. It is a cool new way of ordering food. 

The actual items on show are quite interesting. On the ground floor, there are some high-tech gadgets on show including a sensor used to notify when a cow is giving birth, and an oculus rift for chickens, conveying a virtual reality to keep them happy while in confinement. As you make your way upstairs, you’ll find a range of plants and their respective seeds, describing the transition between. After that, you’ll see the AQUALab, where the previously mentioned aquaponics are used. But before you witness fish feces fertilising soil, you’ll find a small scale city, in which urban life is combined with agricultural. It’s an interesting concept designed by architects, with potential to slow down urbanisation, if something similar is developed. 

   

Some nutrient-filled microgreens and a hypothetical virtual reality headset for happy chickens

Personally, my favourite piece was RoboBees. I could already tell from the title that it was going to be interesting. It’s fairly self-explanatory, a robotic bee. This miniature aircraft was designed and produced by Harvard University and Centeye, a micro-electronics firm. It weighs in at just 0.1 grams, yet could have many potential functions. These consist of pollinating (like a real bee), search and rescue, military surveillance and weather and climate mapping. This tiny flying robot could certainly become useful in the future, and if they do become available, I know I’ll be looking to purchase a swarm. 

Overall, I think this is an intriguing exhibition with some clever and extraordinary ideas that could potentially enhance agriculture worldwide. It was definitely worth a visit. 

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FIELD TEST is now closed. Explore the rest of the exhibits at dublin.sciencegallery.com/fieldtest and get ready for SEEING by booking a ticket for the launch party here