Arable Labs based in Princeton, New Jersey, has created a solar-powered device to remotely monitor the health and growing conditions of surrounding crops.
The Pulsepod is the brainchild of Dr Adam Wolf and Fred Bould – the man behind the GoPro camera – and aims to improve yield and quality forecasts, as well as better application of fertiliser and pesticides.
The monitor can be mounted remotely in the field, and contains a variety of sensing technology including a four-way net radiometer to measure usable sunlight levels and an accurate acoustic rain gauge.
This means it can measure over 40 issues affecting the crop, including rainfall, canopy leaf area, chlorophyll, crop water demand, environmental stresses, microclimate and air pollution.
The information is then transmitted to the office using 2G/3G, wi-fi or bluetooth.
Soil moisture, irrigation pressure and various other devices can be hooked in via an accessory port, while onboard GPS allows the device to be linked to weather, soil and satellite imagery.
Big players including Yara and AB Agri are already testing out the concept, which is now going into production
Arable Labs will be taking orders for a pilot production this autumn for delivery in early 2017. Pilot units should come in under £1000.