Published: 29th September 2020
TN students develop smart farming solutions for automated pest control and plant watering. Here's how
This team from Salem has developed software to bring in smart farming solutions that allow farmers to produce maximum yields with minimum resources
A team of college students from Salem, Tamil Nadu, have come into the spotlight recently for their Internet-of-Things (IoT) based software solution that seeks to give a push to smart farming. The crop guidance software developed by the students of Thiagarajar Polytechnic College is a set of three applications that enable remote monitoring of pest control, automated watering and growth.
The team has developed this software with an objective to bring in smart farming solutions that allow farmers to produce maximum yields with minimum resources such as water, fertiliser and seeds, and reduce wastage or losses. One of the applications of their IoT-based comprehensive solution is the Plant Growth Monitoring System, which uses colour sensors to check the growth of the plants and sprays fertiliser as and when needed. Their Smart Agriculture System also works with colour sensors and an additional WiFi module to identify pest attacks and spray pesticide precisely on the affected parts of the agricultural land. The third application, the Automatic Plant Watering System, uses a moisture sensor and utilises water resource judiciously as it triggers watering based on the moisture level of the soil. "The systems work automatically — like in the watering system when the sufficient water level is reached, it will switch off on its own. This makes it easier for farmers and makes the process seamless. As the applications are IoT-based, they also have a feature that provides weather conditions for proper crop growth to the farmers," adds M Rajesh, a faculty at the college and the team's mentor.
The team developed this software as part of the Smart India Hackathon, held in New Delhi last month. The team has also been awarded the first prize in the Software category for their mobile-based solution at the hackathon, with a cash prize of `1 lakh. Named Rebels, the team consisted of M Rajesh, an Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) faculty and third year ECE students B Sruthi (team leader), S Kishore Kumar, S Usha, S Vishali and S Suresh and second-year ECE student M Megheswara. In all, students presented their solutions to 344 problem statements in the Software category and 145 problem statements in the Hardware category at the Smart India Hackathon 2020. The hackathon, conducted annually by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Innovation cell, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government in the past years has stressed the need to bring in innovation in agriculture – which contributes 18 per cent to the country’s GDP. Experts have been iterating that automation in the irrigation system would be crucial and help farmers manage work much easier and maintain adequate conditions for their crop even remotely. That was the aim behind the students creating such a software system. "The hard work and creativity of the students are highly appreciated. The Smart India Hackathon 2020 conducted by AICTE serves as a useful platform for the students to bring out their innovative ideas and convert those ideas as products and the college supports this immensely. This motivates students to do more and also helps promote such talented students," says Dr V Karthikeyan, Principal, Thiagarajar Polytechnic College.