SenSprout’s mission is to make farming more efficient, to produce more crops using less water. We help farmers better understand their crops and fields with our low-cost sensor technology. Our wireless field-monitoring system is enabled by a unique “printed electronics” senor, making it possible to monitor soil conditions and environmental information in real time. The information captured helps farmers make informed decisions about water and fertiliser consumption, without compromising crop quality. Other monitoring systems cost several thousand dollars, making them inaccessible for many farmers. With our technologically advanced, affordable sensor, we hope to bring about a real change in the global agricultural economy.
Studies have proved that 70% of the fresh water used by humans is used in agriculture. The effects of climate change and urbanisation is making it harder to secure the water needed to meet these increasing demands. So, farmers must improve the efficiency of their irrigation systems. Moreover, irrigation control helps to improve crop quality and can lead to an increase in the sugar content level of fruits such as grapes and oranges. Although this knowledge is widespread, because of the high cost of other monitoring tools, farmers have been unable to implement the methods needed to make a change until now. We believe we can reduce the cost of manufacturing a sensor to match the cost of creating a printed leaflet, or as little as 10% of conventional systems, using state of the art technology developed at the University of Tokyo. In doing so, we hope to become the standard tool for “precision” agriculture.
OUR VENTURE EXPERIENCE
We are a group of researchers and engineers at the university of Tokyo and after we invented our low-cost, soil moisture sensor for farmers, we needed to find a way to deploy it to markets desperately in need. Drought is a global issue affecting many people, from California to Brazil to all the way to India. We applied to The Venture to get the funding to commercialise our research ideas and make them a reality. Through The Venture we raised a total $153,530 and we now have enough funding to deliver the first generation of mass produced sensors. The sensors have been installed at several pilot farms and the data is being analysed and used to help farmers grow plants with less water.
We are still in the development stage and we will see the results in a year or so. Since this is a new tool for farmers, we have to show that this is a very sustainable and cost-effective solution to their problems. We will soon deliver two different soil moisture sensors. One is for home use and the other is for professional farmers because the required durability and precision are different. In addition, we're exploring new ways to reduce costs so that we can reach new markets in emerging countries, and we are also developing a second generation model.