GROW: wireless sensors for smart farming applications in horticulture

by Bram Van de Poel, University of Leuven

In the GROW project we are developing novel sensors to quantify micro-climate conditions and fertilizer levels for greenhouse cultivation of tomato. These sensors are wireless and allow Internet-of-Things applications for smart farming in horticulture.

Our sensors are able to get a very high spatio-temporal resolution of the greenhouse micro-climate (temperature and relative humidity) as well as real-time rockwool electrical conductivity and ion content measurements.

The real-time sensor data is used to develop mathematical models that enable us to make in silico predictions of crop growth, fruit yield and quality, as well as predictions of pathogen spreading. The GROW sensor and models are extensively tested for tomato production, but validation trials for lettuce and chicory production are ongoing.

Bram was a speaker at the 2020 edition of the Smart Farming Conference.


What drives you?
Fascinated by plants and technology, I want to implement and develop novel technologies into horticultural production systems in order to achieve a more sustainable production of fruits and vegetables.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
Learn how we develop novel smart farming applications by collaborating between experts coming from different branches of R&D (horticulture + sensor technology + wireless communication + mathematical modeling).

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Short run: IoT, sensors, drones, LED, imaging
Long run: models, AI, nano-chips

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Make food production more sustainable while simultaneously increasing yield and quality.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Non-believing and fear from change is the only element that limits innovations.

About Bram Van de Poel

Bio-science engineered trained in agriculture and molecular plant physiology. My lab conducts fundamental research in plant hormone biology and applied research in agricultural innovations using novel technologies.

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