Students grow change
PUTTING the future of farming in young hands, students have created digital technology projects that saw them explore automated processes for agriculture.
More than 120 students from St Luke's Anglican School and Bundaberg Christian College participated in the program, funded by Advance Queensland.
Guided by CQUniversity's research fellow in horticultural farming systems Dr Stephen Xu, the year-long activity saw some students create automated watering systems using Micro-bit kits.
"There's a misconception that agriculture is about growing crops, handling animals and fixing fences, but this couldn't be further from the truth," Dr Xu said.
"Agriculture is now a hi-tech industry and it needs people with STEM and technology skills to deliver high quality food and fibre to our markets across the world."
One group created a moisture sensor to indicate when crops and gardens require watering.
"When you place that in the dirt, it will take a reading and if the moisture level is too low, the sensor will send a signal to activate a button that will water a plant," St Luke's year nine student Justice Rockloff said.
"It felt relevant to real-life problems and it made it a bit more meaningful and interesting to explore how it can be applied to benefit the community."
Student Blake Hupalo plans to integrate his project with the water sensor, to further enhance productivity and reduce water wastage.
"My project is a micro-controller which is Wi-Fi enabled and hosts a server, meaning you can connect to it with any device and it will tell you if the pump is on or off and you can control it wherever you are, as long as you're connected to the same network,"
"Given more time and research, it could also tie in with the project my classmates have been working on to water plants."