The smart ‘FlightSensor’ uses attractants to draw insects into a tunnel containing a light source, where an optical sensor measures how much light is occluded by the insect’s flight. The smart device could save billions for the farmers across the globe, Springwise says.
A new sensor allows agricultural sector to identify insect pests in real time. In perspective, the technology could save billions and revent the food crisis, said the US Department of Agriculture.
Annually, insect pests cause more than $100 billion in damages to agriculture. If pests are not identified quickly, before they get out of control, it can be difficult to use the appropriate pest control measures. The FarmSense, agtech startup based n California, offers to use machine learning algorithms to identify and track insects in real time.
It is worth to note that engineers Eamonn Keogh and Dr Shailendra Singh were inspired by Cold War espionage. Their FlightSensor uses lasers to pick up vibrations in light, in much the same way as Russian spies would use lasers pointed at glass window panes to pick up on vibrations caused by people’s voices.
Agricultural biocontrol with FlightSensor
The FlightSensor uses attractants to draw insects into a tunnel containing a light source, where an optical sensor measures how much light is occluded by the insect’s flight. That data is then turned into audio and analysed by machine learning algorithms to identify specific insect species. Farmers can then use this information to target pest management measures such as insecticide or biocontrols. This precision approach reduces the amount of pesticide that needs to be used, which is both good for the environment and saves farmers money.
As the engineers note, the quality of the signal is clear and it’s so deaf to the ambient sounds normally heard in the field. In other words, it’s essentially a different modality to hear the insect. However, when you put on headphones and listen to the audio clip from the sensor, it sounds just like a mosquito or a bee flying around.