Robot Farmers

Robot Farmers

October 23, 2018

The start-up company, Iron Ox, is working to deliver robotically grown vegetables.  They have planted their first robot farm about 25 miles south of San Francisco in a warehouse.  They intend to sell their vegetables to local restaurants later this year, and to supermarkets early next year.

Their first farm is in a warehouse forcing them to use artificial lights, and thus substantial energy.  But future robot farms will be in greenhouses to reduce energy costs.  Their plan is to locate these robot farms close to metropolitan areas.


Video Spotlight: Watch robots grow food without farmers


This post is based on The Daily Times article, Meet the farmers of the future: Robots, by Michael Liedtke, September 28, 2018, and the YouTube video, Watch robots grow food without farmers, by CNBC, October 3, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Beros919.

Discussion Questions:

1. What benefits does the use of robotics have for the farm?

Guidance: The biggest advantage is the reduction in labor.  The cost of farm labor is rising, and finding workers is getting more difficult.  Until recently, many of the workers on U.S. farms were not in the U.S. legally. Continue reading

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Artificial Ingredients Removed from McDonald’s Hamburgers

Artificial Ingredients Removed from McDonald’s Hamburgers

October 14, 2018

McDonald’s continues to make changes to its product in response to customer-driven initiatives.

Recent changes include:

  • using fresh rather than frozen beef and cooking to order for Quarter Pounders.
  • removing artificial ingredients from Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and Egg McMuffins.

Now, almost two-thirds of McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches in the United States will contain no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives, and no added color.  To accomplish this goal, artificial preservatives were removed from American cheese, Big Mac’s Special Sauce, and many hamburger buns.

Other initiatives include sustainably sourced McCafe coffee by 2020, and cage-free eggs by 2025.  McDonald’s is also looking at beef from producers that follow sustainability programs.


Video Spotlight: McDonald’s removes more fake ingredients from menu


This post is based on the Food Bev article, McDonald’s to remove artificial ingredients from its burgers, by Martin While, September 28, 2018; the McDonald’s press release, McDonald’s USA Reveals Changes to its Classic Burgers, September 26, 2018; and the YouTube video, McDonald’s removes more fake ingredients from menu, by Bloomberg Markets and Finance, September 27, 2018. Image source: © McGraw-Hill Education/Mark Dierker.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is driving this change?

Guidance: McDonald’s is obviously feeling Continue reading

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Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

October 14, 2018

Walmart already uses Virtual Reality (VR) instruction at each of its 200 Walmart Academies, which train approximately 150,000 employees each year.  Now, Walmart plants to expand the use of VR instruction into its stores.

By the end of the year, Walmart hopes to have over 17,000 headsets in stores, to be used in training Walmart employees on the Pickup Towers being added to many retail locations.

VR instruction uses interactive onscreen prompts and 360 degree video.  This should help better prepare employees for the introduction of Pickup Towers, because the Oculus headsets let them see and get a feel for the towers.


Video Spotlight: VR headsets train associates in-store


 

This post is based on the Tech Crunch article, Walmart is putting 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in its stores to help train employees in VR, by Lucas Matney, September 21, 2018; the Walmart blog post, Hundreds More High-Tech Pickup Towers are Headed Your Way, by Justin Rushing, April 5, 2018; and the YouTube video, VR headsets train associates in-store, by Walmart, May 30, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / franz12.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the advantages of VR instruction?

Guidance: Walmart’s use of VR Continue reading

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