Gitam students develop wireless gadget to test, replenish farm soil

Gitam students develop wireless gadget to test, replenish farm soil

VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when the Narendra Modi government has been pitching for ‘Make in India’ and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu for a smarter state, a group of students from Gitam University in the city, which calls itself the ‘Think Tank’, has smartly combined technology with agriculture to design a gadget that can help boost agricultural production.

The gadget utilises wireless networks to not just identify moisture and nutrient content in the soil but also helps pump in adequate water and nutrients into the soil if necessary. The prototype was tested at the Regional Agricultural Research Station at Anakapalle.

While the group spent around Rs 25,000 on building the prototype, they feel it can be sold for Rs 15,000 if mass produced. They have already presented the prototype to the Electronics Corporation of India Limited so that they can develop it into a workable commercial model.

The breakthrough product also bagged the best technical paper award at the international conference on ‘Operations management and industrial research’ at Dubai. The paper titled ‘Optimising irrigation systems by using wireless network arch to increase crop yield’ was presented by Shyam Tenali, a third-year industrial engineering student from Gitam, and his classmate Ganti Subhash. The other members of the group are S Sree Moudgalya, a third-year ECE student, and K Bhaskar, S Vishnu Vardhan and Subhratyo Jyothi Maitra from other streams of engineering.

Explaining the manner in which the prototype functions, Shyam said, “The agricultural field is first mapped into grids and the sensor electrode is installed in the soil to check the moisture and nutrient content. The data is then relayed to the main motor by the field sensor, after which it is analysed. Depending on the analysis, if there is a dearth of moisture or nutrients, the requisite amount of moisture (water) mixed with the requisite quantity of nutrients is pumped back into the soil.”

The group members pointed out that the idea behind the project, which uses drip irrigation methods, is to make sure that water and nutrients are not wasted as they are when regular flood irrigation methods are used.

The project was taken up by the group over a year ago and since then they have made several technical paper presentations over the last six months, after which they were selected to represent India at the international conference in Dubai.

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