Lakehead University, environmental economics development team research into recultivating lost and/or barren ecosystems, as well as giving villages the tools and resources to re-energize their economies.
What it does
Agri-kit acts as a data-gathering and soil monitoring service for farmers and corporations. The service will allow for large corporations such as Starbucks, Keurig, and Nestle to monitor the soil of their plantations and health of their crops through the use of soil-beacon arrays in conjunction with an aerial drone. The topological map of the land will then be analyzed alongside the chemical makeup and conditions of the soil in order to gain a better understanding of the ecosystem and how to improve annual crop yields.
How We built it
The idea of the drone/soil sensor ecosystem was represented through the use of small T-slot beams and wooden table. A shelf was constructed to support the Raspberry Pi and camera, and 3D printed topologies of existing landscapes were 3D printed in order to represent what the drone would be seeing within a square unit defined by the soil sensors. OpenCV was used in order to analyze the photos taken by the camera in order to export them and create the topographical map.
Challenges We ran into
OpenCV was difficult to install, Solidworks acted up (as per usual), our table fell apart at many of the joints, and the image processing had difficulty analyzing the photos taken from a camera that was knocked onto the ground (oops).
Accomplishments that we are proud of
The concept of the farming/data combination in order to optimize farming was met with great interest and discussions with many industry professionals and graduate students identified the many strengths and opportunities of the idea.
What I learned
We learned that when something can go wrong it most likely will and that you have to be prepared for, and have contingencies or backup plans for most things.
What's next for Agri-kit
We hope to scale up for larger customers, as well as to implement newer technological innovations such as radio tomography in drones, as well as to seek out government projects and voluntary carbon markets.