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‘Smart farming’ solutions for automated pest-control, plant watering and growth monitoring from college students

NITN | @notintownlive | 09 Sep 2020

‘Smart farming’ solutions for automated pest-control, plant watering and growth monitoring from college students

New Delhi/Salem: A team of college students from Salem, Tamil Nadu have made news as their Internet-of-Things (IoT)-based software solution seeks to give a push to smart farming. Their crop guidance software is a set of three applications that enable remote monitoring for pest control, automated watering and growth monitoring.

The team from Thiagarajar Polytechnic College developed this software during their participation in the Smart India Hackathon, held in New Delhi. The team has been awarded the first prize in the Software category for their mobile-based solution at the hackathon, with a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh.

The team, codenamed ‘Rebels’, consisted of M Rajesh, 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.

“The hard work and creativity of the students is 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,” said Dr. V. Karthikeyan, Principal, Thiagarajar Polytechnic College. He also stated that this hackathon has instilled a spirit of entrepreneurship in the young minds.

“Another thing that aids the students, is that the Government of Tamil Nadu has been providing laptops to the students of government and government-aided Polytechnic Colleges since 2011,” added Thiagarajar Polytechnic College Chairman C Valliappa.

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% to the country’s GDP.

Experts have been iterating that automation in irrigation systems would be crucial and help farmers manage work much easier and maintain adequate conditions for their crops even remotely.

‘Smart agriculture’, or ‘smart farming’ allows farmers to produce maximum yields with minimum resources such as water, fertilizer and seeds, and reduce wastage or losses.

The team has developed their software with the same objective. 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 plants and spray fertilizers as and when needed.

Their Smart Agriculture System also works with colour sensors and an additional Wi-Fi module to identify pest attacks and spray pesticide precisely to the affected parts of the agricultural land.

The third application, as part of their software solution, the Automatic Plant Watering System uses a moisture sensor, and utilizes water resource judiciously as it triggers watering based on the moisture level of the soil.

Implementation of such applications and systems in Indian agricultural fields will definitely help improve production and quality. It would also bring in much needed peace of mind for our farmers by providing real-time information related to their farm and crop and take action remotely.

In all students presented their solutions to 344 problem statements in Software category and 145 problem statements in Hardware category at the Smart India Hackathon 2020.

Thiagarajar Polytechnic College is a forerunner in bringing out the innovative ideas and talents of the students in the form of products and patents.

Recently six final-year mechanical engineering students from the TPC had designed a low-cost eBike that can run 80 kms on full electric charge and recharge for the bike costs mere Rs 20.

The college also bagged the AICTE-CII IndPact Award for Best Industry-Linked Polytechnic. By virtue of winning the award for successive years in different streams, the 62-year-old institute has been elevated to the status of a Mentor Institute.

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