Senior Design Team sdmay18-38 • Smart Wireless Ag Sensors for Measurement of Soil Water Contents

The goal of the project is to develop, evaluate, and deploy a number of smart sensors for real-time measurement of soil water contents in agriculture. The sensors are to be an alternative to conventional soil water content monitoring involving colorimetric, spectroscopic, and electrochemical analyses in the laboratory. The sensors will be portable and able to measure chemical properties including pH, conductivity, potassium, nitrate and phosphate in agricultural soil water. In collaboration with the Agronomy Department and the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State, the team will design, fabricate, characterize and evaluate the sensors, and then deploy them in their greenhouse and field to monitor dynamic changes in soil water contents over time as crops grow.

Various new sensor technologies will be further evaluated in terms of sensitivity, specificity, reliability, and durability, and field deployability. New sensor designs will be made to improve sensor performances. A small sensor network will be made. Data platform will be built to collect data from sensors wirelessly. A user interface and app will be developed for the sensor system deployed in greenhouse and field.

The team will work with plant scientists, agronomists, and other engineers to develop the proposed system. The team will work in the BioLab, Sensors Lab, and plant sciences Institute. The team will meet on a weekly basis.