Crops News

Creators of crop-disease sensor win bronze at inventors competition


Awards have been announced for the 2018 Collegiate Inventors Competition, where the finalists included four undergraduates from Brown University who are using advanced optics and novel processing techniques to better identify pests and crop diseases. The product is called CropDoc, and they were named Bronze Winners at the competition in the USPTO Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia.

The four — Jack Roswell, Abigail Kohler, Eli Silvert, and Alex Zhuk — along with advisor Chandra Madramootoo, competed against students from places such as Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in this annual contest that rewards innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students.

Here’s the description of CropDoc:

Sensing Sick Crops: Pests and crop diseases kill 20 percent of all crops before harvest, causing an annual $990 billion loss in farm income. No current technology can identify specific diseases on farms. Using advanced optics and novel processing techniques, CropDoc provides farmers with actionable insights regarding the location and projected progression of pests and specific crop diseases — weeks before visual symptoms manifest.

The undergraduate winners were from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Rhino, a masonry tool attachment that can be used with any traditional rotary hammer and which improves accuracy and safety of joint raking, allowing masons to cover 50 percent more area during a given time. Other competitors worked on projects that included epidural accuracy, battery-free inventory tracking, and extending brain surgery’s reach.

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