IoT To Help With Food Shortage

IoT to help with food shortage

According to research by agriculturists, it is estimated that by 2050, the planet will be inhabited by more than 9 billion people. Considering the time-frame, we don't have much time left on the clock. With the global climate changing rapidly as ever, it will be challenging to feed the ever-expanding population.

Patrick Smoker, Director of IT for Purdue University's College of Agriculture, and its 300 person faculty has already started working on solving this problem. They are using a plethora of technologies available at hand to solve the incoming problem of food shortage we are about to witness.

While technology cannot itself solve the problem alone, it can have a drastic impact and minimize the damage. This is where IoT (Internet of Things) come into the play. The researchers at Purdue's College of Agriculture are using various IoT sensors, edge computing devices and local circuit boards to track data on various geographical factors such as groundwater quality, plant health, and emissions, to help farmers all around the world help grow food efficiently.

This also includes sensors which can be used to collect data and take real-time actions based on the information received. The data, which might span across numerous variables, can help determine the speed at which an autonomous farm can implement travel across a field,  the seed planting density or any number of actions associated with optimizations, like fuel consumption or fertilizer application rates.

"We use these tools to study crop genetics," Smoker said. "By 2050, we want to be able to feed the world's population, so we have to increase our capacity to produce food in a way that lowers the impact on the earth, but increases nutrition and makes it possible for crops to grow in new regions."

How IoT can help feed the world?

The research uses a variety of devices for edge computing in IoT which ranges from sensors to solar-powered wireless gear, servers and other devices, all of which work in tandem to help Smoker keep track in real-time on what's happening on the university's sprawling 1,408-acre farm, a few miles from the university's main campus in West Lafayette, Ind.

Smoker furthermore added, "It's just more cost-effective for us to use an in-house data center. We looked at cloud computing services, but for the work we were doing, it was too expensive."

The researchers have also developed a special vehicle, known as the Phenomobile, to help them collect data like light reflection and wavelengths using IoT sensors. A trailer which is housing 12 IoT emission sensors is connected to an HP Enterprise Edgleline Server, where the data received is analyzed before sending it over the network's school data repository.

"This is about feeding the world," he said. "We don't have much time. By 2050, it's predicted we have to double food production to meet the needs of the world's population."

PC: Pablo, Unsplash

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Anurag Chawake Opinions expressed by techsutram contributors are their own. More details

I am an Engineering Student with a keen interest in Blockchain, Cloud Computing, AI, ML and related startups. I am currently working with Techsutram as a Writer/Intern.

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