Student designs tablet computer for farmers

A Coventry University student has developed a tablet computer he believes will improve farm productivity out in the field.

Product design undergraduate Jan Soukenka says he designed the Agronom to help farmers carry out machinery-based field tasks with greater precision and efficiency. The device will go on public display at an industrial design exhibition next month.

Mr Soukenka said he looked at the various technological aids deployed in farming for his degree project at Coventry School of Art and Design. Too often, he said, farm software for inputting data, providing navigation guidance and controlling implements involved several hardware devices.

The 22-year-old from Norfolk decided to develop a single, multifunctional device that could run all these programs simultaneously. He worked closely with farmers and industry professionals during the product’s development.

The tablet computer eliminates the need for separate controls by integrating different functions and commands into one compact, mobile device, which can be easily transferred between vehicles. With the software all stored in one place it is also easy to move from vehicle to vehicle.

The Agronom tablet enabled farmers to conveniently monitor and reduce crop inputs throughout the working day, claims Mr Soukenka.

“Ultimately, this could lead to today’s fuel powered tractors becoming more sustainable in the long-term with farmers achieving higher crop yields in return.”

As part of his project on maximising efficiency in arable agriculture, he visited famers in Essex, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire to get an insight into their working practices and to study the agricultural technology available to them.

“Farmers are keen and valuable clients for us but they feel somewhat overlooked by an industry that is very “social-consumer” focused, so as designers I think we need to put more effort into producing valuable products which will help [farmers] work more effectively.”

The Agronom will be on show during an Industrial Design exhibition in the Maurice Foss building on Coventry University’s city centre campus from 1-6 June.

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