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Development of an agricultural appliance tablet application for Ontario lifestyle farmers

Development of an agricultural appliance tablet application for Ontario lifestyle farmers

Castlemore Educational Services (CES), Humber students, and Applied Technology faculty member Peter Wheeler have completed the first stage of a project to build a device that will help farmers track and manage environmental crop conditions in an easy to use package. Unlike other farming software applications, this system does not rely on an internet connection, which is often unavailable in crop fields, and can track a wide range of crop conditions, including temperature, rainfall, soil moisture, pH, chlorophyll, and more. This novel system will help Ontario lifestyle farmers to reduce input, maximize crop yields, and improve the quality of their crops.

 

Electrical Engineering Technology students Vamsidhar Allampati, Jason Conway, Hang Yin, and Zhitao Xin and Bachelor of Industrial Design student Michael Voitov were hired to develop the appliance, which consists of a tablet, a case, and a variety of sensors. With access to the Humber Rapid Prototyping Lab, they were able to 3D print components, design printed circuit boards, and cut and etch the case bezel for the tablet and power supply cover. Working under the direction of Wheeler and CES President Joseph Jean-Charles, these students designed, built, and evaluated all aspects of the prototype. The students also learned valuable project management skills, working as part of a team and delivering project milestones.

 

As a result of the project, Wheeler, Jean-Charles, and students who worked on the project formed a new company called SunPillar, which will market the app once it is ready for commercial use. The SunPillar team is currently collecting pilot data with the app and is planning further refinement of the system including the integration of electronics, refinement of a drone sensor, and creation of data analytics algorithms. SunPillar filed a patent in January 2015 and plans to have a commercial product available by 2016.