Wirelessly controlled greenhouses
Using communication protocols and greenhouse control indicators, UN experts are automating care and maintenance of crops in a easy and comfortable manner.Medellín, 27 de septiembre de 2012 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The automatic greenhouse control system may be scaled to areas as big as an hectare. Photos: Medellín/Unimedios
The project received an honorable mention at the IV Inventors and High Technology Meeting held in Medellín in 2011.
The system uses sensors to turn sprinklers on and off, as well as open and close windows, amongst other control measures.
Researchers designed a model to manage coriander, cucumber, cape gooseberry (uchuva, in Colombia) and several other vegetables, controlled by a system, which also controls variables such as active photosynthetic radiation, wind speed and direction, relative moisture, and temperature, amongst others.
“This is an automatic system which eases field work as it’s not even necessary to be in the same country, as it can be managed on the web”, says Ana Paola Montoya, UN-Medellín Agronics PhD candidate.
The software receives greenhouse data and from anywhere with access to the system, can send orders, such as, open or close windows or turn on sprinklers.
Some of the features of the project are, for example, saving water, due to aspersion control, labor convenience, as workers don’t need to be present for greenhouse handling and good nutrition, given its aeroponic cropping method, where the roots are in the air.
Any person with technical background can be tutored to work with this computational tool. It’s user friendly, using icons, where all the information is placed on servers and data acquired to take decisions on time periods and areas which will perform specific actions”, says School of Physics Professor, Gonzalo Vargas Quiroz.
“Implementation may be a little expensive, in terms of electricity, as it is used to provide a nutritious solution to the roots. But it balances out with diminishing water use and high productivity. For example, a cucumber crop in the field produces one kilo, while a controlled aeroponic crop produces eight kilos. Taking into account that cucumbers grow quickly”, says Agronomy Science Department Professor, Juan Gonzalo Morales.
Although the project is suitable for greenhouses, it may be scaled to areas as big as an hectare. This can all be controlled using our software, which at present is being fine-tuned in order to offer it to the production industry very soon.
The project gathered professors and students from several disciplines and also received an honorable mention at the IV Inventors and High Technology Meeting held in Medellín in 2011.(Por: Fin/hr/clc/fgd