FarmSense trap tech counts and identifies crop-killing insects
If farmers know what sort of pest insects are present in their crops – and in what numbers – they can avoid excessive use of pesticides. The FarmSense system was created to provide that information, via a network of Smart Traps.
Each weather-resistant trap is placed in a different location throughout a farmer's fields, where it chemically lures in a sampling of whatever insects are present in the area. Once those insects are inside the trap, a combination of LEDs, optical sensors and other electronics (including a microprocessor running machine-learning based algorithms) are used to identify the type of insects captured, plus their numbers. The traps can reportedly run for approximately one year per battery-charge.
The collected data, along with each trap's GPS coordinates, is transmitted via Wi-Fi to a cloud-based server. After all that information has been analyzed and combined, it's presented in the form of an internet-accessible map of the client's fields, showing which insects are present in which places, and in what concentrations.
The farmer can then strategically use specific quantities of specific pesticides to address the problem (if there is one), instead of simply spraying large amounts of general-purpose pesticides over all their cropland.
Unlike traditionally used sticky traps, FarmSense does the insect identification and counting for the user, and it continuously provides real-time readings. Additionally, clients can set the system to alert them if pest numbers exceed a given threshold in a specific trap or geographical area.
Plans call for the Smart Traps to be commercially available starting sometime next year.