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Indiana State students create device to ease crop management

December 7, 2015

Harvest has the potential to be more efficient time for growers thanks to a device developed by Indiana State University graduate level electronics and computer technology majors.

Focused on apple orchards, a group in the College of Technology's graduate level industrial computer systems management course created Solarize - a device meant to help farmers record wind speeds, humidity and luminosity of any harvestable crop.

"I've had few projects that I've developed an attachment but this is one of them," Oscar Henriquez said. "I've learned a lot of new program and now have a new appreciation for what goes into farming. This is definitely a project that matters and could really develop into something, which makes it a great learning experience I can take with me when I graduate."

Henriquez, Jalen Foster, Hassan Fateel, Ramya Sreemadcha and Nagesh Dammalapati conducted all of the research, design work and created a presentation for their class.

"These students gave it their all and that's what a graduate level team should be," said Edie Wittenmyer, the ECET course instructor. "They learned things they didn't know before and they put a lot of work into their research. That's what a project like this is all about. They really gave it their all and should be applauded for that. The course engages students by providing problem-solving, real life issues for resolution within a team environment."

The students started the process of creating a place through Solarize where multiple sensors can be used to capture large amounts of data on the growing stages of a field or orchard, said Jan Eglen, a member of the College of Technology's executive advisory board and a four-time Indiana State graduate who served as the project coordinator.

"If we can be more efficient in fruit, and possibly grain, production, we would help address the problems of a growing planet and do it at a relatively low cost because it's about sunlight and would be a self-contained system," Eglen said. "I've been around a long time and I've seen how a seminal project can give rise to other things, and I think this device has the ability to do that."

After learning new programs and discovering a new side of the growing process, Foster is excited about what the future could bring for his group's idea that began with a focus on apple orchard but could be used for other plants.

The group would like to see more research with the device during the growing season and combine ideas with a Lafayette-based company to develop infrared maps the contain data on levels of sunlight at strategic sections of fields and orchards.

"Since we did this after growing season, the device hasn't been placed in a tree yet but I want to test it out and see where we can take this idea," he said. "We pretty much learned a lot of what we had to do on the fly and it makes me ready to improve upon what we've done in only a month and a half of work."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or betsy.simon@indstate.edu

 

Story Highlights

Students in the College of Technology's graduate level industrial computer systems management course create Solarize - a device meant to help farmers record wind speeds, humidity and luminosity of any harvestable crop.

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