Project

# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
42 Automated Grain Quality Test Kit for Farmers in Developing Countries
Adam Long
Joan Brown
Kevin Villanueva
Luke Wendt design_document0.pdf
design_document0.pdf
design_document0.pdf
final_paper0.pdf
presentation0.pptx
proposal0.pdf
This project was pitched by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)


Problem: Small farmers in developing countries lack the ability to analyze the quality of their product. With the proper resources, they would be able to analytically show the quality their product and sell it at higher margins.



Solution: A low cost, portable Grain Measurement Quality (GMQ) Kit that would be able to automatically collect and wirelessly transmit testing data on corn quality via GSM to a Farmer Portal.

The kit will include measurements of: and method/sensor

Corn Temperature: thermistor

Corn Humidity: relative humidity sensor

Corn Color: RGB color sensor

Impurity of Sample: a two-level sieve to separate unwanted large non-kernel material such as husk remnants and stones and unwanted small material such as broken kernels.



The kit shall be portable and handle a sample size of appx. 100 kernels. Samples should be taken from each sack of corn with the data applied to each of their respective sacks. The kit will be powered by rechargeable batteries. The system will also include documentation for conducting the tests that are easy to follow for farmers in developing countries.



The kit is will be in the form of a briefcase. It will have an attached tablet, or low-cost alternative, to display and record the test data. There will be two distinct sections of the kit; the first will be used for temperature, humidity, and impurity measurements. The sample of appx. 100 kernels will be dumped into this section where they will pass layered sieves. A scale will be at the bottom of the leveled sieves, and the data will be recorded by the tablet via a wired connection. The sieves will then be removed by the user and new data points will be recorded to show the impurity of the sample. A thermistor and humidity sensor in the center of the remaining kernels will allow us to acquire the temperature and humidity of the corn. The second section will be adjacent to the first and focus on corn color. An RGB color sensor connected to the tablet will be used to acquire the color of an individual kernel placed on the covered sensor. All the data recorded will be compared to quality standards and the results given back to the user through the tablet.



Challenges:

Ensuring a low-cost solution

Ensuring a long battery life, as users will likely have limited access to electricity

Appropriate accuracy of measurements

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"Engineering is all about solving real life problems and using the solutions to improve the lives of others. ECE 445 allows you to actually delve deeper into what this really means by providing students the chance to undergo the engineering design process. This requires taking all of the theoretical knowledge, lab experiences, and ultimately, everything that you have ever learned in life, and applying it to your project. Though, there is structure to the course and deadlines in place to measure your team's progress, the actual design, implementation, and success of your project is all determined by you. Unlike any other course that I have taken, I've gained an appreciation for the utilization and benefits of external resources, unforeseen scheduling delays, delegating tasks, and most importantly, teamwork. I consider ECE 445 to be a crash course into real life engineering and a guide to become a successful engineer." -- Lauren White