Ag IOT spec (Cube Sat for Ag)


#1

@dornawcox @dbuckmas posted about the IEEE smartAg workshop in Detroit in August - wondering if it’s worth getting a student to at least start a proposal specification over the summer with the aim of seeing what that community thinks about it?

If so would you agree with the following blurb I wrote in application for students:

2 IoT spec for Agriculture (cube sat for IoT Ag)

This would more require a mechanical engineering student with an interest in electronics and perhaps some programming. In community with GOAT the student would be tasked with researching relevant specifications and proposing a mechanical and electrical specification for production farm appropriate internet of things modules (sensors, actuators, networking, and power components). There is a plethora of IoT devices being created for both home and industrial use but these are (a) generally not rugged enough to endure the environmental rigors of an operating farm environment, and (b) are being created within proprietary walled gardens severely limiting interoperability. In contrast, given these factors many farmers, both small and large scale, are self developing custom sensor systems for their needs and there is a thriving open source Agriculture technology community. A common open specification that takes into account the environmental requirements of an operational farm, and standardised module level electrical and mechanical interfaces, would allow this community to more easily pool their efforts, share designs that will be guaranteed to be interoperable, and accelerate design work through a refined design space. The created specification would be presented to the GOAT community for practicing farmers to comment and provide feedback on.


GOAT To Do List
#2

P.S some components based on brain storming with colleagues: Items that need specification:

  • Size/form factor
  • Power
  • Wired Connectivity
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Ruggedness std: Water, Temp, Particulates as pertains to
    • container
    • mounting
    • portals

#3

Would love to see this take shape! The more real-world use cases and examples we can look at for inspiration the better.

It seems like many projects use a watertight box (often with a latching see-through door) with cable glands for wires. See Cases/enclosures and mounting options for some examples

The main issue I often see is the lack of a good standard mounting solution. I think if we had a good way to either mount on a pole or a wall that would be good. Also, while cable glands are workable, having a standard waterproof plug would be nice so that sensors and power could be disconnected easily rather than having them directly connected to the electronics. e.g. http://www.libelium.com/products/plug-sense/


#4

I have an interest in this.

In terms of existing ruggedised systems this seems good https://www.tindie.com/products/Reinier/vinduino-remote-sensor-station-board/

I’ve been working with these cheap sensors

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2018-Xiaomi-Mi-Flora-Monitor-International-Version-Digital-Plants-Grass-Flower-Care-Soil-Water-Light-Smart/32835348205.html

Waterproofing is a piece of clear plastic tube with the sensor inserted, and the top folded and cable tied (So the light sensor still works)

The data is read from https://github.com/1technophile/OpenMQTTGateway which can be solar powered with a 7w $15 panel.

I’d then like to build a mesh https://github.com/martin-ger/esp_wifi_repeater from those ESP32’s and write the MQTT data to thingspeak.com and farmier.org


#5

I’m in Ann Arbor super close to Detroit. If someone does come out, please let me know, I may be able to help in terms of where to stay and other cool places to visit while your here (like maker spaces and other stuff). I don’t have any students, but would be happy to go and support one and/or go with others.

In terms of ruggidization, @bpwong seems to be putting equipment outside lately, got any opinions?


#6

Hi all,

The semester is just starting here to I’m going to advertise an internship for someone to prototype a spec and example instance. I’m definitely going to point them here for feedback so is there anything you would particularly want mentioned either in the job ad (see below) or in general to start them off?


Design and Prototype a Specification for Open Agriculture IoT devices

There are a plethora of IoT devices being created for both home and industrial use. However, the majority of these devices are (1) not rugged enough to endure the environmental rigors of an operating farm and, (2) they are overwhelmingly being created within proprietary walled gardens that severely limit interoperability and innovation. In contrast - in part due to these factors - many farmers at all scales are developing their own custom sensor systems for their specific needs and there is a thriving open source Agriculture technology community.

Taking inspiration from how the CubeSat specification radically accelerated small satellite development, this project seeks to define a common open electrical, mechanical, software, data, and communication specification - in consultation with the active farmer and hacker community - for farm ready and ruggerdised IoT devices. The specification will cover: electrical, mechanical, and communication interfaces and form factors, and will make use of existing common and open standards and best practices . Further, the development process of this standard will take into account; the environmental requirements of an operational farm, the deployment requirements of both small and large scale farms, small scale manufacturing limitations, cost, and existing community needs, use cases and common practices.

It is anticipated that having such a specification available would provide a base framework onto which the open source agriculture community could more rapidly pool their efforts, share designs that will be guaranteed to be interoperable, and accelerate design work through a refined design space. This position seeks a student to research and create such a specification and to then create a prototype instance for demonstration purposes of such in an example application.

The anticipate outputs from this project are (1) a written prototype specification available for public comment, (2) a data schema, (3) a prototype implementation of at least 2 modules.


And either way maybe it’d be good for us all to start listing standards/practices we’d want in the spec/having a discussion? This will definitely be easier once student spends some time sourcing standards we could start.

IP67 compliant/other?
5V @3A / 12V @5A / 2 options?
LoRa and Zigbee / Sigfox and BLe?
USB3/RS232?
Python and C / GoLang / Embedded java (I hope not :smile: )
MQTT/COAP?