Developed by engineers at the University of Leeds, the sensor device gathers data on air temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, and soil moisture and temperature – information crucial to making key agricultural decisions about planting, fertilisation, irrigation, pest and disease control and harvesting.
It is being tested by Kew’s Diploma students and staff over the next four months in the School of Horticulture’s new student vegetable garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The sensors are monitoring conditions around some typical crops to test possible future applications.
The Leeds team has been working with two Kenyan villages to develop the technology as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Village E-Science for Life (VESEL) project, a collaboration of key research groups in the UK and Kenya. The project aims to apply advanced digital technology to improve quality of life, both through its use in education and to optimise agricultural practices.
“In some areas of Kenya, localised variations in growing conditions can cause severe fluctuations in crop yields. Our part of the VESEL project is about providing the right information at the right time to farmers,” says Professor Jaafar Elmirghani from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. “This means they can use available water more efficiently, minimising wastage and helping to optimise their harvests to feed their families.”
The information is fed back via a wireless network to a central hub, or server, which will be located at the village school, and is then sent to agriculture experts who will provide advice to assist farmers’ decisions. The ongoing data gathered will also feed into agricultural teaching at Kenyan schools, which forms a central part of the education system.
During the tests at Kew, the data collected by the device will be sent back to the University of Leeds, but ultimately, the management of the system will be handed over to the University of Nairobi. “This information will also inform research at the University of Nairobi - and ultimately, we hope, inform agricultural policy in Kenya”, says Professor Elmirghani. “It’s crucial that the work of the project can be sustained long term to benefit future generations.”
“We’re pleased to put these devices through their paces and give feedback to the project. Our students are keen to learn about emerging technologies, especially with such clear sustainability goals as the VESEL project”, says Kew scientist , Rowan Blaik.
The tests are expected to be complete by Autumn 2008, after which time the devices are initially to be trialled in the two Kenyan villages. “We hope that, during 2009 and beyond, the technology will be rolled out to other communities,” says Professor Elmirghani.
Jo Kelly | alfa
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
20.07.2017 | Information Technology
20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy