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
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy