The three designed prototypes have been taken to the field to be tested and generate the information used in the design of the device that will be taken to the beneficiaries of the project.
From January 12 to 14, 2022, the Digitalization of Small-Scale Agriculture project team was in the field installing the prototypes that had been designed in the first phase of the project. The prototypes, designed by the company Visualiti, co-executor of the project, share similar design characteristics but differ in terms of the humidity sensor.
The design of the devices incorporated Visualiti's experience in creating digital technologies for agriculture with the information collected by the project team in the creative visualization workshops. The creative visualization workshops are an activity in which the beneficiaries of the technologies are allowed to visualize their version of the technological solution. At the same time, possible challenges in its implementation and adoption are discussed. The Creative Visualization workshops were guided by Visualiti, who have designed a protocol for it and executed it by Zamorano and the Bioversity-CIAT Alliance in Honduras and Colombia, respectively.
The design of the prototypes responds to the project proposal to develop a technological solution to measure soil moisture that is economical, robust, and highly usable to bring the revolution of agriculture 4.0 to small and medium-scale farmers in the region. . To make it low-cost, the design of the device was taken to the functional minimum that would allow collecting soil moisture data. As a result, the device has a charging autonomy of 6 months (estimated) in the field, taking soil moisture data every hour without wireless data transfer. The robust aspect of the equipment comes from the fact that it is encapsulated, which protects it from adverse field conditions, even allowing the device to be buried to prevent damage and theft. Finally, after the field tests, where the sensor to be used will be decided, the solution will be highly usable, as it will be the one that allows effective measurement of soil moisture in the greatest number of field conditions and variety of crops.
The prototype testing exercise is carried out in Colombia, in the Cauca Valley with an independent producer, and in Honduras on the Zamorano campus and a university's agroecological farm. At the end of the exercise, the prototypes will have been tested in five different soil conditions and three crops. With the information collected, the project team will design and replicate 90 devices that will be taken to the field to the beneficiary farmers of the project.