U Student Startup Sense Tech helps farmers water their crops remotely.

Crop Watering: Eliminating the Dirty Work

Did you know that farmers hire people to monitor their crops to know when they need to be watered? U mechanical engineering student Jacob Harris knows it all too well. Growing up on a farm, he was in charge of driving around and doing the gauging.

He decided to take his expertise in robotics and control, and create a device that could do the monitoring for him.

“It’s a module you will place in the field and it will feed you daily or hourly updates to your cell phone,” Harris said. “It will tell you how your crops are doing so you know when to water.”

He contacted nearby farmers in the Cache Valley area to determine what farmers wanted in a system like this, and was able to come up with details that set this product apart.

Some competing products require internet access to send updates, but Harris feels this is not always practical.

“Not only do some people not have Internet connection while they’re on the farm, but the cost of it will be much cheaper as well because we send updates via text message,” he said.

Once Harris had the idea, he recruited the help of several U electrical engineering students for help where his mechanical engineering expertise had fallen short. The product is in development, and they’re currently working on manufacturing the printed circuit board.

In October 2015, Harris presented his idea at Lassonde Institute’s Get Seeded event and was awarded $2,050 which they used for design and development of the case that will hold the product to keep it waterproof.

Harris expects the product will be in full production by July 2016.

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