Last month a team of three MIT college students designed a fully functioning IoT systems for farmers. The thinking they employed about which type of system to create was to focus more on the application, as opposed to the device. They had heard a lot about agricultural IoT projects, however most of these were designed around robotics. As a result, they wanted to design a solution that was software based, so that it could provide the farmers with more actionable intelligence. While it’s impressive that the students created a prototype in just three weeks and with only $80 to invest in it, it also shows us that executing and deploying real world IoT projects are neither costly nor time consuming. Their story can be read below.  

On September 21, 2019, Keysight Technologies held the finals of its IoT Innovation Challenge in New York City. As one of the judges, I had the opportunity to see and hear firsthand from the six finalists as they presented their designs in the “Smart Land” and “Smart Water” categories. One of the finalists for Smart Land was a team of MIT undergraduates: Nikhil Murthy, Gabriella Garcia, Sunny Tran, and Irin Ghosh. To learn more about their design goals and challenges, I met with Murthy, Garcia, and Tran near the MIT campus a month after the competition.

The team’s entry, called “berrySmart,” started as a class project, after which the students entered it in the Keysight competition. “We were taking an IoT class and berrySmart was our class project,” said Murthy. “Only later did we submit it to the Keysight competition.”

How did they come up with the concept? As Murthy explained, “After hours of brainstorming for an idea, I remembered speaking to a blueberry farmer for an economics class. The farmer didn’t have the resources that larger farms have. We then started thinking about how to use what we learned in the IoT class that could help.”


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