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14 Apr 2022

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Consortium develops biodegradable IoT sensors

Many countries can boost their economies by improving their food production with IoT and sensor technology. Unfortunately, the large number of sensors that are required for this often leads to the introduction of numerous electrical components in agriculture. Which poses all kinds of pollution risks.

Companies and research organisations in Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands have been developing biodegradable IoT sensors for some time. In addition, companies in the UK have also invested a lot in the development of biodegradable and plastic processors and other chips.

PLANtAR is the project on which German, Spanish, and Dutch organizations are currently working. The project began in November 2020 and will be completed end of 2023. This month, one of the partners in the project has started developing sensor nodes and gateways for biodegradable sensors, following a period of user research. It focuses on three potential customers: large-scale agriculture, small-scale outdoor cultivation such as tree nurseries, and indoor cultivation such as greenhouse construction and vertical farming.

The more data available to the growers, the better they can create the right conditions for plants. By replacing a handful of sensors that give an average image of a field or greenhouse with a multitude of cheaper sensors, growers can generate much more data. This allows them to monitor the environment very closely. Soil moisture and nitrogen content can be measured very precisely in this way, so growers also have to use less. This also helps farmers prevent diseases.

Although the PLANtAR project focuses on IoT sensors and the nodes and systems that support them, it is evident that implementing IoT sensors in food production will require substantial investments in edge-like infrastructures. Manage food production digitally at scale requires large processing capacities and an IT infrastructure that can handle both local and cloud-based data processing.

Photo credit: Dagerotip George

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