Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Bells University of Technology
March 26th, 2014

Factors we are monitoring are discussed below:


  • It greatly influences the survival or growth of a crop. Each crop has its own temperature survival range called cardinal temperature.
  • The effect of temperature on the rate of photosynthesis is little. The rate of photosynthesis increases with rise in temperature from 5 degrees to 37 degrees in general. The rate of photosynthesis is doubled for every 10 degrees increase in temperature. Note that this is in Celsius.
  • As temperature increases, respiratory reaction rates speed up, using more of the photosynthetic compounds manufactured in a day. This results in photosynthesis getting reduced. Also, plants require more water to maintain optimum water content in their tissues. Thus increase in the respiratory reaction will require more water for the plant to cope with the requirement and if not, this will result in low yield.
  • Usually high temperature promotes the growth of weeds, insects and pathogens.

Soil Moisture:

  • If soil moisture is near normal or wetter than normal, a dry spell from day 14 to day 60 after pollination will have a small influence on final corn yield.
  • When the top 6 inches of soil is wet, planting is delayed, and nitrogen can be lost to either denitrification or leaching. Leaching may lead to the development of seed, root, and crown diseases.
  • Dry soil during planting may result in poor stand establishment and may cause plant stress when dryness occurs during the periods of flowering and seed set.

Light Intensity (The degree of brightness that a plant is exposed to):

  • Light greatly affects photosynthesis, increase in the intensity of light will result in an increase in photosynthesis.
  • Deficient light intensities tend to reduce plant growth, development and yield.
  • Excessive light intensity should be avoided. It can scorch the leaves and reduces crop yields.

Sensors to be used are listed below:

  • Temperature Senor
  • Soil moisture sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Humidity sensor
  • Soil nutrient sensor (optional)

The cassava farm we are working on is shown below in its raw glory

Cassava Farmland

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March 4th, 2014

It has been a really busy month for the smart farm team. While involved with a lot of activities in school, the team has been hard at work completing the project. The team has gotten further along in the design process. We have been focusing most of our time on the design of the wireless sensor network and the cloud computing aspect of the smart farm. We are implementing a wireless sensor network for the monitoring of the plant and soil factors.
Wireless Sensor Networks consist of three types of nodes. They are: the coordinator/gateway which organizes the network and helps to maintain routing tables; the routers which communicate with coordinator and other routers to reduce the functions of end devices and provide paths for end devices to communicate data to the base station or coordinator; and the end device which interfaces to the physical world. It senses the parameters for which it has been designed and communicates with coordinator through desired routing protocol and forward signal to the base station. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) can be used to monitor different environmental parameters related to agriculture such as temperature, humidity, weather station, leaf wetness and many other parameters. The monitoring of these parameters allows for the efficient management of time and money as well as the maximization of agriculture results.
The sensor node acts as the end device by interfacing to the physical world i.e. it interfaces to the farm sensors to read the farm data like soil temperature, soil moisture and others. The sensor node also acts as a Router due to the powerfully equipped antenna and wireless transmission protocol it uses. The sensor node is based on the Atmega 328P microcontroller and the XBee 2mW Wire Antenna – Series 2 (ZigBee Mesh). For the ZigBee Transceiver, we are using the XBee XB24-Z7WIT-004 module from Digi (XBee 2mW Wire Antenna – Series 2 (ZigBee Mesh). Series 2 improves on the power output and data protocol. Series 2 modules allow one to create complex mesh networks based on the XBee ZB ZigBee mesh firmware. These modules allow a very reliable and simple communication between microcontrollers.
We have carried out some simulations on the sensor node design using the Proteus EDA Software and some other package. Also for our coordinator/gateway, we are using the popular open source hardware, the Arduino. We are currently deciding between two design models. One is based on the Arduino Uno, Arduino GSM/GPRS Shield and some other shields while the other is an unpopular development board, the Gboard ( Although we have faced some few challenges, we are looking forward to setting up working sensor network soon on a real farm. It will be fun. As for our Cloud part of the farm system, things seem to be going well as we have already created a design layout.

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February 11th, 2014

Hello there! Coming up a bit late but now we’re rolling! We are designing a more efficient and economical power conservation solution.
If you were asked about the major power problems faced by consumers in a good number of developing countries like Nigeria, you would mention several things including the problem of inadequate power, with the consumption of the available portion being grossly mismanaged.
“Why then spend so much on electricity when the power consumption management can be made smarter?”
We are unraveling the mystery behind a smarter power ecosystem by designing a smart power monitor. It intends to leverage an android based application that interfaces with an intelligent electrical power consumption monitor over an ad hoc wireless network. The monitor manages all power outlets, isolates unusual power consumption and performs real time switching of electrical appliances. The monitor has the capability of intelligently determining which devices require power based on preferences and expected lack of utilization (Wendy mentioned this too!).
So far, we have developed a scheme for monitoring every power outlet using a low power microcontroller circuit. The data acquired is transmitted over wireless network through a gateway to the android device for monitoring and observation.
Right now, we are focused on the circuit design, microprocessor programming and Andriod application development.
Subsequently, we would provide updates on the progress made as we keep speculating, studying, designing and creating. Be sure to keep tabs on us.

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January 28th, 2014

           Hello, this is the first blog post from TeamSmartFarm. The past couple of months have been filled with plans, ideas and deliberations. This is probably because in a project such as this, there is no single correct answer; it is the most efficient, appropriate and easy to reproduce solution that wins. Keeping it simple is key.

            The smart farming for rural environments project is a project that focuses on automating the regulation of parameters within the African environment which affect crop growth, improving crop productivity and integrating a sound e-commerce and cloud computing system into rural farming. There are five team members, all students of Bells University of Technology, who have been doing as much as is possible to ensure that the implementation of this project goes well and is completed even before schedule.

            So far, we have come up with a plan that systematically examines all aspects of crop life that we want to regulate and looks at the best possible approach to solving each problem. In the past three weeks extensive work has been done on pest control, the design of efficient irrigation architecture and producing a working framework for sensor nodes. Of course, special attention is being placed on integrating our sensor nodes into the irrigation architecture and killing as many birds with one stone as possible.

            We are still working hard on highlighting a concrete plan on how the cloud computing and e-commerce interactive aspect is to proceed. We have gotten a lot done in three weeks and we believe that in the coming weeks, we’ll have even more to report. We expect more progress from the aspects of farm survey, the ordering of materials and cloud computing. The budget is pretty open for now but we’re keeping everything as affordable as possible by using recycled and local materials.

            Expect updates of even more progress in the near future as we learn, work and make earth a smarter planet.


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We’re happy to connect with students in Africa and have found some enterprising young people – congratulations!

Smart Farming

This project intends to provide farmers with the power of mobile analytics of the environmental conditions on their farms, thus, empowering them to make intelligent decisions that lead to increase in farm output and better value for their crops. They also have the opportunity to market their products through an e-commerce system that leverages a database for farmers within the smart farm ecosystem.

Smart Mobile Power Monitor

The smart mobile power monitor intends to develop an end to end solution comprising an android based application that interfaces with an intelligent electrical power consumption monitor over an ad-hoc wireless network. The monitor manages all power outlets, isolates unusual power consumption and performs real time switching of electrical appliances. The monitor has the capability of intelligently determining which devices require power based on evaluation of ambient conditions. Users can also switch power states based on preferences and expected lack of utilization. This monitor is designed to optimize power consumption, reduce power cost and even out power distribution.

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