Farming can be a tough business, it always was and it always will be. Except for big companies who almost “manufacture” crops, it’s a very critical business to farmers around the world and even one bad season can shake up your life quality.
Technology supports farmers nowadays if they can afford it. It is a lot less risk than it was in medieval times or earlier. We can somewhat rely on weather forecasts and reports that tell us about the weather in near future and farmers can prepare their crops for whatever will happen. However not all planning is perfect and not every forecast is reliable.
The folks from Arable Labs are a startup from Princeton (NJ) and they are working on a solution to better support farmers on weather prediction with their Pulsepod device. The Pulsepod was designed by Fred Bould, who was previously also involved in the design of products like the Nest thermostat, the GoPro cameras and the Fitbit wearables.
Using the Pulsepod, farmers are better able to predict weather conditions for their particular area of interest. The device is installed anywhere in the field and will be powered from solar cells. The device is equipped with multiple sensors to measure crop or grass growth and it is able to measure rainfall versus crop watering requirements to report the data to the farmer.
Pulsepod can also be used to check the color of berries in order to analyze the harvest readiness for vines or similar plants. This has the potential to save a lot of time as the farmer does not need to visit each and every location all the time in order to be able to tell when the plants will be ready for harvest.
The design and production of the Pulsepod has been optimized to suit the working conditions of farming. The rugged design was intended to survive rough handling and even drops from a truck and not even have issues being in operations for three years in the same place throughout the seasons.
While the pricing of the final units is currently unclear, you can already reach out to Arable in order to talk with them about a pre-order for Fall 2016. If this is only somewhat affordable for normal farmers, this has the potential to improve the life of many people and agriculture businesses.
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