Inception

Precision Irrigation for the Developing World.


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The Problem.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts the world's population will increase from 7.3 billion to 9.7 billion people by 2050 - which will require global crop yields to increase by 70% to meet rising agricultural demand. To avoid creating undue stress on the global food supply chain, farmers will need to use innovative methods to conserve the resources they draw upon the most, with water being top of mind. With greater demand on water resources, conservative water management techniques will become of greater importance. To overcome these challenges, farmers in developed nations implemented precision irrigation systems, but farmers in developing nations lack similar systems due to high-cost and complexity.


The Solution.

Drip is a low-cost, efficient precision irrigation system that was designed to service the needs of farmers in developing nations. Drip employs an advanced mesh networking algorithm to enable a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) of field nodes. An Internet of Things gateway is used to upload data points from the WSN into the Drip database. The Drip dashboard uses innovative data visualization techniques to integrate the field data collected and data from online API's to provide a comprehensive view of the crop irrigation needs. Drip's pioneering hardware and software modular architecture, enables a base implementation of the system for less than $12, with additional nodes costing $3 - $6, depending on the required functionality. This represents a 98% reduction from the cost of similar precision irrigation systems, such as the CropX Pro Sensor.

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Architecture

Complete System Architecture.


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High-level Drip System Archeticture that models the upload process from farm to the end-user. It is divided into three key components; Field Network, Database, and Dashboard/Analytics.
Devices

Drip does it all.


Communication Hub

CAD$9.17*

Interaction between the Field Probes/Valves and the Cloud Drip Database.

The Communication Hub Internet of Things (IoT) Module is responsible for all interaction between the Field Probes/Valves and the Cloud Drip Database. The Communication Hub is divided into two components: Gateway and Uplink. The Gateway, an Arduino based component, deals with connecting the Communication Hub to the Field Network using the NRF24L01+, acting as a master node to the Mesh Network. As the Gateway receives data from the Field Modules, it relays it via Serial transmission to the Uplink. The Uplink, a Particle-based component, deals with uploading the data received from the Gateway to the Particle Cloud API, triggering an HTTP Post Event, which subsequently uploads the data to the Drip database.

Specs

- ATMEGA328p
- Long-Range 2.4 GHz RF Data Transmitter
- 32-byte maximum payload
- Novel RGB status light
- Particle Photon

Components

- Particle Photon
- ATMEGA328p
- Logic Level Converter 3.3-5v
- Dual-RGB LED
- NRF24L01+
- Long Range LNA Antenna

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Schematic
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Mark 5 Schematic of the base Communication Hub incorporating a cost-minimalistic and condensed version. A two-layered upload process allows for modularity of key components during prototyping/development.


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Field Probe

CAD$4.50*

Equipped with sensors, continually monitors the crop irrigation conditions.

The Field Probe, equipped with moisture and sun exposure sensors, continually monitors the crop irrigation conditions - relaying it to the central Communication Hub via the Mesh Network. Advanced power management techniques are used by the Field Probe to conserve power and reduce the possibility of transmitting redundant data points. The power management protocol puts the main hardware components "to sleep" based on the average variation in Soil Moisture and the current weather throughout the day. For example, a smaller variation in data results in the Field Probe "to go to sleep". The image on the left shows the Mark 7 of the Field Probe.

Specs

- ATMEGA328p
- Long-Range 2.4 GHz RF Data Transmitter
- 32-byte maximum payload
- 3-month battery life
- Multi-depth Moisture Sensor Readings

Components

- ATMEGA328p
- LED Status Lights
- Moisture Sensor
- Temperature Sensor
- Sun Exposure (Photoresistor)
- Tilt Sensor
- NRF24L01+
- Long Range LNA Antenna

Schematic
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Mark 7 Schematic of the base Field Probe incorporating a cost-minimalistic and condensed version. Likewise, unnecessary hardware components, such as a Temperature Sensor, were removed to extend battery life.

Moisture Sensor Test
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A test was run in collobaration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to test the precision and accuracy of the Drip System in comparison to traditional methods of measuring soil moisture.


Field Valve

CAD$10.96*

Activates a sprinkler, based on events created within the Drip Dashboard.

The Field Valve allows the farmer to control crucial machinery, such as sprinklers, in their field through the advanced online-Drip dashboard. The farmer can use the dashboard tool called Events to schedule actions for when to activate the valve, based on both time intervals and/or sensor thresholds. Likewise, Drip's predictive analytics engine can be activated to automatically control the sprinklers based on its discretion.

Specs

- ATMEGA328p
- Long-Range 2.4 GHz RF Data Transmitter
- 32-byte maximum payload
- Nominal 1/2" Water Control

Components

- ATMEGA328p
- Logic Level Converter 3.3-5v
- NRF24L01+
- Long Range LNA Antenna
- LED Status Lights
- Nominal 1/2" Solenoid Water Valve

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Schematic
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Mark 5 Schematic of the base Communication Hub incorporating a cost-minimalistic and condensed version. A two-layered upload process allows for modularity of key components during prototyping/development.



*: Cost is Direct Source Pricing of the device, not including shipping, handling and taxes.

Dashboard

Analytical Tools and the Beta Test.


Analytical Tools

Dozens of Analytical and Dashboard tools were created to provide the user with an advanced and concise view of real time crop growing conditions. Four key ones are highlighted below.

Summary


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This tool renders a brief summary of all the fields associated with a user's account, while also utilizing Drip's novel Weather Pattern Score predictive analytics algorithm to forecast crop irrigation needs.

Real Time


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This tool uses a host of big data visualization techniques, such as mapping technology, to provide an advanced and concise composition of real-time crop irrigation data in a specific crop field.

Driplapse


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This data visualization tool uses a novel hexadecimal coloring scheme to provide a visual representation of historical crop condition data. This enables an advanced visualization of a field's historical crop data.

Plant Wise


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This predictive analytics tool provides a recommendation for the most suitable plant for a farm based on a variety of factors, such as soil characteristics and physical plant growth patterns.

Beta Test


To test the usability of the Drip system and effectiveness of the Big Data Analytics engine, a comprehensive 7-week long Usability Test was conducted. This Usability Test was successful in yielding over 50,000 data points about user interaction and satisfaction with the dashboard. With 203 participants from 17 countries, reporting 51 "bugs" and having over 1000 minutes of active usage, this Usability Test was instrumental in refining the user interface and provided invaluable enhancements to the reporting of Big Data Analytics.

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Developer

Waleed Sawan


Waleed Sawan is a first year Engineering Student at the University of Western Ontario from London, Canada. He has a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). He also pursues a widespread adaption of STEM subjects for everyone with his work on Whiz Kids and Amra's Yes I Can Summer Program. Learn more about his work and accomplishments here.

Documents

Advanced Information About Drip.


System Presentation


An indepth presentation about the Drip System along all aspects of the system and the problem solved. (Graphics, minimal text)

Download
March 2018

System Report


An indepth report about the Drip System along all aspects of the system and the problem solved. (Text, minimal text)

Download
March 2018

AgriCanada Research Proposal


A Research Proposal for the pilot to be run in cooperation with Agriculture Canada testing economical and technical feasibility.

Download
January 2018

Research Proposal


Complete Research Proposal for the Drip system. Submitted to all mentors prior to the commencement of the project.

Download
December 2017

Product Comparison


Comparision between two key systems currently in the market and how Drip is a better choice.

Download
November 2017

Business Plan


A 35-page Business Plan on entry to market strategies for the success of Drip in Developing Nations.

Download
October 2017

Business Slide Deck


Preliminary look at the market for the Drip system, entry to market strategies, and pricing strategies.

Download
October 2017
Recognition

International Recognition for Drip.


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Grand Award

Along with being the youngest contestant in the online hackathon, received the first place award, which includes an all expenses paid trip to Particle's headquarters and free hardware/swag. Award was recieved at the 2018 IoSP Hackathon by Particle.

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3rd Place in Embedded Systems

Recipient of 3rd Place in the category of Embedded Systems, an extremely competitve category of over 100 finalists. Award was recieved at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

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Qatar Foundation, Research and Development First Place Award

Recipient of 1st Place award from the Qatar Found, Research, and Development, selected from all 1800 finalists. Award was recieved at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.


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Team Canada - Intel ISEF 2018

One of 8 highschool students selected from across Canada to represent Canada at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Was selected after a rigorous 4 month interview and application process from over 250 applicants.

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Bronze Medal

Recipient of the Bronze Medal at the 2017 Canada Wide Science Fair. Recieved the award with a similar project, titled Drip - A Precision Agriculture System for Developing Nations. The project was mainly theoretical, with a rare amount of physical implmentation

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Speaker

Spoke at the 2017 Wavefront Internet of Things Conference held in the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada. Attendees included the CEO of GE Canada the CIO of the City of Toronto. Spoke briefly about my project and how Youth Science Canada has helped me in pursuing it further.


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Best in Fair

Recipient of the Best in Fair at the 2017 Thames Valley Science and Engineering Fair. Award was recieved based on the overall technical and innovative merit of my project. Over 250 participants at the science fair that year vied for the top award.

Sponsors.

Donations towards Drip.


Companies and organizations that have donated time, money, and/or resources to the Drip project.

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