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Creators of crop-disease sensor reach finals of inventors competition

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Finalists for the Collegiate Inventors Competition have been announced, and among the undergraduates in the mix are four students from Brown University who are using advanced optics and novel processing techniques to better identify pests and crop diseases. 

The four — Jack Roswell, Abigail Kohler, Eli Silvert, and Alex Zhuk — along with advisor Chandra Madramootoo, are competing 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.

The invention from the Brown students is called CropDoc, and the description says:

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.

Their competitors are working on projects involving epidural accuracy, battery-free inventory tracking, extending brain surgery’s reach, and creating less mortar mess.

Competition finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of United States Patent and Trademark Office patent and trademark examiners, sponsors, media, and the public at the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo. The expo and awards ceremony will be held Friday, Nov. 16, in the USPTO Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia.

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