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Dan Kim

Software and Mechatronics students create device for farmers and the museum worldApril 18, 2019

A device originally conceived as a tool to monitor environmental conditions has an unexpected purpose.

A team of Software and Mechatronics Engineering students have collaborated on a project to help farmers that may also have applications in the museum world.

The device, aptly named AgriBoost, was originally conceived as a tool to monitor environmental conditions across farmer’s land, tracking temperature, moisture, wind speed and solar radiation.

Christie Condron.

However, after a discussion with their faculty advisor Michael Noseworthy, a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the students, who call themselves EltroTech, realized the McMaster Museum of Art would be the perfect place to test and repurpose their prototype due to its highly regulated conditions.

EltroTech is comprised of students Vishal Bhatia, Gary Barretto, Gino Salayo, Christie Condron, Pareek Ravi, Kunal Shah, and Pavi Pathmarajah.

“Everyone depends on food obtained through agriculture,” says EltroTech team member and Mechatronics Engineering student Gino Salayo. “If our system can help farmers increase their crop yields, we would be making a positive difference that would affect a lot of people.”

"The museum was not only a great way to test out our sensors," says Mechatronics Engineering student Christie Condron, "but it also allowed us to identify a new market to target our product.”

In order to properly preserve its art collection, the Museum has tightly regulated environmental systems that are operated and monitored remotely and backed up by hygrothermographs. Most art galleries around the world use hygrothermographs, an instrument that measures and records temperature and relative humidity on a paper graph through the movement of a human hair.

 

Christie Condron.

AgriBoost would serve as an additional check and balance for the sensor and allow Museum workers to monitor areas of concern from wherever they have Internet access in real time.

“Originally, we thought we would be developing a product that would be implemented solely in a farmer’s field, which in itself was pretty cool,” says Software Engineering student Pavi Pathmarajah. “This gave us the opportunity to actually scale our system back slightly and implement it in ways we never thought imaginable.”

 

EltroTech will present their device on Friday, April 26 at the Computer and Software Engineering capstone presentation day.