|Carnegie Mellon | Robotics Institute | Field Robotics Center | USDA | Smart Farms|
This project is about irrigation control and making intelligent automated decisions using Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN's). WSN's can be used for precision irrigation control to reduce the amount of water and nutrients applied to the plant. This has many economic and environmental benefits including:
- Less water used for irrigation
- Less fertilizer required
- Reduced irrigation runoff into the environment
- Less crop disease
- Reduced pests
- Reduced labor for irrigating
- Increasing rate of crop growth
- Ability to monitor and manage crop in real time
- Remotely control irrigation over the internet
Advanced tools helps make WSN raw data into actionable information. Nodes are capable of controlling irrigation based on conventional schedules, local setpoint control, or more advanced plant science models.
User interface features lets the user view current data, generate dynamic plots, create alerts, and further work with the data to understand the environmental conditions that affect their crop.
This system is inexpensive for a quick return on investment (often less then 1 year!) and in use by growers and researchers alike. It is currently in use in over a dozen sites including greenhouses, container nurseries, field nurseries, hydroponics productions, and green roofs. Sensorweb has been continuously evolving and improving since 2003.
This project is part of an USDA SCRI grant to manage irrigation and nutrients via distributed sensing. By creating a team with engineers, plant scientists, and growers this system addresses the needs of the growers and researchers for maximum effect. Plant science models developed by the scientists are integrated into the system to develop the next generation of feed-forward irrigation systems that optimize water usage and decrease runoff.