Soil Monitoring – Smart Agricultural Sensor Network

by Susanne Oertel, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB

The FutureIOT consortium focuses its research activities on two distinct fields of action „“ and „“. Aim of the Bavarian research network is the joint development of comprehensive IoT solutions for practice-oriented solutions.
Further development and integration of individual technologies in the area of communication, sensor technology, localization, information security, and IoT plattforms, are intended to master the existing challenges in the city as well as on the countryside.

The sub-project Soil Sensor Technology covers the IoT value chain from sensors via sensor networks until cloud-based data analysis.

We present a solution for smart agricultural sensor networks focusing on components and a tailored control unit for realization of the EDGE layer in agricultural IoT systems.
Our approach includes low-cost screen-printed electrochemical sensors together with a stand-alone, ultra-low power microcontroller unit (MCU) with a high-precision analog front end.

The electronics unit enters a deep sleep upon idle status reducing the current consumption down to minor micro amps, resulting in a battery lifetime of several years. The data from the sensor system can be combined with other data on the end device which also allows data transmission into an IOT platform.

The presented system proves the functional requirements for accurate, inexpensive and user-independent electronic determination of the disposable nitrogen level in elutriated soil.

This project is supported by the Bavarian Research Council via the framework FutureIOT including over 30 partners from industry and research.

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


What drives you?

  • to find new ideas for application fields
  • to disseminate our research.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
attend a presentation with interdisciplinarity open the mind for new ideas/applications.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

  • low-cost sensor systems and communication with IoT-platforms give traditional agriculture a interesting push (short run)
  • next Level for agricultur 4.0 are the data management Tools – Long run: easy to use and multi-functional.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

  • improvement
  • reduction in man power and material Input
  • protection of environment.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?

  • Price
  • Integration potential of the sensor Systems
  • Acceptance.

About Susanne Oertel

Dr. rer. nat. Susanne Oertel, Senior Scientist, received her PhD in chemistry (Inorganic Materials) from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2004. Since 2008 she is with Fraunhofer IISB in the working group on Thin Film Systems with topics like printed electronics, thin-film sensors, as well as device and application development. Since 2010 she is active in the field of inorganic precursors for solution-processed metal oxide TFTs and since 2015 in the field of printed flexible sensors. Main topic in her work is the development and fabrication of ion-selective sensors and their integration with corresponding electronics for hybrid electronic devices, e.g. for wearables and sensor modules.

About Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB

As one of the 72 institutes and research units of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB conducts contract research for industry and public authorities. Its main objective is to provide excellent research to its customers and to set technological benchmarks as one of the leading research institutions in electronic systems.

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