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Agricultural solution to globally optimise the use of water by using low-cost sensor

Even though the water resource is limited, the application of water to garden farms or to agriculture currently relies on the cultivator’s past experiences and intuition. Plants grown at home to lighten people’s lives may die from too much or lack of water as well.

In addition, in dry areas of the world, we can predict that the use of diminishing water resource will be even more limited and the cost may rise. In this situation, development of solution using low-cost and easy to use sensor is needed worldwide.

Our product can measure the soil moisture by sensors that can detect the change in capacitance. Since we use printed technology, we can make the sensors low-cost whether for small amount or for mass production. We believe that the sensors can be used for optimisation of irrigation in large farms or cash crops, and also for predicting natural disasters like land slides and cliff collapses.

■Products

Home version
By using the small sensor produced by printed electronics, measure the soil moisture and notify by LED light
Can be used for plants grown indoors to small garden farms
Sold at Aisan Electronics

Farmer version
By using sensors that can measure at multiple depths, measure the soil moisture and temperature of the installed point
View the data via web/ smartphone app
Can be used both in greenhouse and in outside farms
Will be in stores soon

■Research and development

We establish the technology necessary to make the product by joint research with the labs in University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Agriculture was thought to be a great area of application for the sensors produced by the company’s technical advisor and IoT researcher Yoshihiro Kawahara. When the research was published in 2012, it gained attention from various areas and fields, making Kawahara believe that this research needs to be made into business. This led to founding the company in January, 2015. In order to supplement the knowledge in the field of agriculture, the company collaborates with Professor Masaru Mizoguchi, who specialises in technology of environmental monitoring based on environmental soil physics, to produce low cost and high quality sensors.

Asami and Kawahara Lab, Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo (in Japanese)
http://www.akg.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/

Mizoguchi Lab, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo (in Japanese)
http://www.iai.ga.a.u-tokyo.ac.jp/mizo/mizolab.html