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Electronic Packaging to Enhance IOT for Agricultural Applications
Keywords: Internet of Things, Electronic Packaging, Environmental Sensor
The agricultural industry is undergoing a technological revolution as devices normally reserved for multinational agricultural corporations become available to the local family-owned farm/ranch. By creating a low cost environmental sensing platform, based on PCB sensor technology, we are able to create a globally connected Agricultural Internet Of Things (AIOT) device that alerts the farmer/rancher when preset environmental conditions are detected. Our current research continues in monitoring environmental conditions inside hay bales. Hay bales may spontaneously combust when the hay is baled with too much moisture present in the hay. This combustion is due to growth of thermophilic microorganisms that flourish in moist and warm habitats. A low-power, low-cost internet connected device is inserted into the bale and monitors environmental conditions (temperature and moisture content). An end-user can monitor the moisture and temperature inside a hay bale and receive alerts on their smartphone when dangerous conditions exist that could trigger combustion. A PCB-based moisture content sensor and a discrete temperature sensor interfaces with a microcontroller that connects to the internet or directly to a users cellphone when in range. With the low cost of the electronics stack, a variety of other applications are possible as well, such as monitoring soil, hen houses, remote feedlots, and any other location where temperature and moisture content information is useful. Collecting information and data mining can also lead to better understanding hay bale combustion, both from a scientific perspective and for the farmer/rancher to integrate into finding ideal baling weather conditions. Calibration of the fringing field PCB- based moisture content sensor and thermistor- based temperature sensor is handled by software on the microcontroller that allows new calibration data to be pushed to devices remotely by the developer. Calibration parameters are stored in EEPROM on the sensor platform, allowing modification to the sensor operation without requiring a complete firmware reload.
Markus Kreitzer, Graduate Student
Auburn University
Auburn University, AL
United States

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