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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

New Tech Tuesdays: Smart Agriculture Depends on Smart Uses of the Technology Tommy Cummings

New Tech Tuesdays

Join journalist Tommy Cummings for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

When you have the world to feed, it's important to be smart about agriculture.

That means, of course, optimizing certain technologies associated with agriculture because ... well, you have a world to feed.

For decades, developers have been creating and augmenting tools for more efficient food production. Designers also have been leveraging modern technologies to use all resources more sparingly, relieve people from monotonous work, and produce higher yields. These technologies are ever-growing as agro-industrial face new challenges in expanding into new areas of production, such as barren deserts and seawater.

The technologies driving smart agriculture include the Internet of Things (IoT)-based sensor networks, phase tracking, weather forecasting, automated irrigation, light and heat control, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and drones.

The many solutions include LEDs for horticulture lighting applications, internal antennas to boost frequencies for devices in the field, and IoT-based sensor networks for monitoring plant growth and health.

In this week's New Tech Tuesdays, we'll look at new products from Cree LED, Laird Connectivity, and Amphenol Advanced Sensors that are behind these applications.

LEDs, Internal Antennas, Sensors

Cree LED's XLamp® XP-G3 S Line Photo Red LEDs are ideal for horticulture lighting applications where sensors and switching are common. These LEDs feature a 660nm wavelength and a 500mW to 525mW minimum radiant flux at 350mA. The 3.45mm2 XP platform has an ecosystem of optics and available system solutions, which enable manufacturers to simplify the design process and shorten the time-to-market. The LEDs are also binned at 25°C and feature a wide 125° viewing angle.

Laird Connectivity's FlexPIFA 6E Wi-Fi® Triple-Band Internal Antennas are designed for rapid integration into space-constrained devices and housings. The antennas are an ideal solution for coverage of traditional Wi-Fi® frequencies and are futureproofed to work with emerging Wi-Fi 6E applications. The flexible, adhesive-backed antennas have MHF1 connectors to provide multiple installation solutions for IoT device manufacturers. Integrated Planar Inverted-F antenna (PIFA) technology is available across all three Wi-Fi bands—2400MHz to 2500MHz, 4900MHz to 5925MHz, and 5925MHz to 7125MHz. Applications include farm sense and control in agricultural and rural uses.

Amphenol Advanced Sensors' Indoor Agriculture Smart Greenhouse Environmental Monitoring and Control solutions help maintain proper conditions for optimal plant growth and health in indoor agricultural facilities and greenhouses. The sensors provide the critical functions of monitoring and controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in combination with temperature, humidity, and ambient light. The proper quality and placement of CO2 sensors enable wired or wireless indoor agricultural climate control systems to monitor and maintain optimal CO2 setpoints in relation to other environmental parameters.

Tuesday's Takeaway

Design engineers need to be at the top of their games when developing smart agriculture solutions. Leveraging the technologies that drive smart agriculture, such as horticulture LEDs, internal antennas for field devices, and IoT-based sensor networks that monitor plant health, helps designers develop smart agriculture solutions that boost crop production. We have a world to feed, you know.

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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.

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