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David Sparks Ph.d Bug Sensor
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: January 01, 2018

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It is very common practice in some areas of agriculture to use sticky traps in order to monitor the number and kinds of insects that may be attacking your crop. Certainly, this timeworn tradition has been valuable if, somewhat slow and archaic. To no one’s particular surprise, technology has stepped in. Dr. Eamonn Keogh from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California Riverside has developed a Wireless Bug-Sensor that enables precision agriculture to increase food yields. The heart and soul of the technology is a laser that optically tracks the type, sex and location of insects in and around any given crop. Here is Dr. Keogh: “I have been working on this for a couple of years with some entomologists. About four years ago we figured out that we could actually optically record the sound of insects flights. We record insects flights with very high precision very cheaply and the second question is can we actually take that and figure out the sex, the species and other things from that. In many cases the answer is yes. In addition to the information that we use regarding the insect’s sound, we also do other things like looking at the time of day. Do you envision it as being affordable? Absolutely. The basic components only cost tens of dollars and that is when we make it. If Sony or Apple made it, they could make it for a few dollars. The laser costs $.99 because if it were not affordable, it would not happen. Our ambition has always been sub $10 per unit.

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