Thingitude's Student Summer Project at GROW - IoT in Agriculture


Today we’re catching up with Mark Stanley from Thingitude about their new student IoT agricultural project which will be run from GROW over the summer...

Hi Mark! Good to hear you’re going to be back at GROW this summer, running anotherThingitude project!

Last year you and Mike were working with students on the Reading Hotspot Project as part ofReading’s Year of Culture 2016, creating a live heat-map of Reading’s arts events. What exciting things have you both been up to this year? What's this year’s new venture?

Well, Mike has been working with the Museum of English Rural Life with a phd researcher (Robyn Hopcroft) growing sugar beet in raised vegetable beds, using a MicroBit based sensor platform  to monitor growth.

This year the experimental bed was offered for another project and researchers Marijke, Harriet are doing comparison planting eg comparing the growth of mono culture and companion planting beds. This is also a personal interest for Mike as he is involved in building a sensor and control system for the allotment community. The system uses LoRaWAN to enable deployments over a wide area using one internet connection.

In a similar vein, albeit on a different scale, we have been working with Glynllifon Agriculture College in Wales, teaching students and farmers about IoT.

Thingitude has been commissioned to ‘sensor up’ the estate, to include the farm, college and surrounding area as a showcase demonstrating LoRaWAN in agriculture. The project is funded by Menter Mon which has an EU grant to develop innovation in the region providing solutions to the challenges facing rural Wales. Gwynedd Council is also involved in the programme. We are creating an IoT showcase, and then invite local businesses, politicians, council staff and the public to open days where they can see IoT in action, and hopefully get excited about its potential across the region.

We are going to develop a ‘Farmville’ style dashboard to look like the estate :-). The sensors will be situated on resources such as slurry tanks, bins, farm gates so that the farm and estate can be monitored in real time.

The dashboard will have a cartoon like view of the farm showing as gates they open and close and we’re thinking of making the Slurry pit icon bubble (or worse!) so it’s visually fun and engaging!

So, I've just hired Keegan and Glebb - 2 students from UTC Reading and we'll be working on the farm project at GROW over the summer.

We’re really looking forward to being back at GROW and we start this week!

Thanks Mark, it will be fun having Thingitude back in the GROW community, developing another IoT application. Can't wait to see the 'Farmville' style dashboard; animated slurry pits boggle the mind ;-)!