Complimentary Research Institutions

Complimentary Research Institutions

The following research plans were selected from submissions from the public for complementary research to this project by the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN). Working together we promote research and development of sensors, content and systems useful in agriculture.

S1: Establishing systems for efficiently managing harvests through crop monitoring through low-level remote sensing

S2: Development of sensors for early discovery/diagnosis of blight in fruit trees using trace gas analysis technology

Crops give off thousands of volatile components that make up crop gases including some that are specifically caused by growth conditions (such as pests). This research is driven by trace gas analysis using infrared lasers belonging to physicochemical laboratories; advanced analysis of constituent gas given off by crops seeking to achieve sensors able to collect up to date information regarding pest risks that had been difficult to obtain using conventional methods. By making these sensors compact and mobile we can develop sensors able to be used by agriculturalists in their fields. Veteran farmers are able to detect changes in the smell of crops reflecting their growth conditions through experience. By developing sensors we hope to make sensors able to analyze minimal gas concentrations in fields at a higher sensitivity than the human sense of smell.

S3: Knowledge development and field demonstration of vegetation conditions and work action records

This research will establish methodologies for building a body of explicit knowledge from example instruction and cultivation techniques at the site of production from cultivation instructors active on the front lines of agriculture in order to achieve sharing of know-how from producers in agriculture and efficient and effective development of human resources. Additionally, a set of ICT tools will be developed to systematically implement the methodologies and with the further goal of verifying effects on the ground with advanced agricultural businesses. Technology will be developed to give advice by searching databases of time-series of vegetation conditions, work, environment and quality as well as similar case studies, making decisions based on information about the implicit surrounding environment wherein producers work, vegetation condition information and past conditions. Furthermore, this project will develop analysis technology that will analyze the characteristics and commonalities of data from multiple producers with conditions of demonstration fields. In order to promote sharing of realizations as intellectual property, work towards standardization of a format for recording these realizations will be implemented.

S4: Verification and development of an information platform implemented as a web service for interoperability of standard agricultural information

This project will study the standardization of a syntax through standards such as AgroXML and FarmXML and techniques (web services) for connecting semantic standardizations of agricultural ontologies and achieve reciprocal use and intercommunication of agricultural information. Work will be done towards fusing past initiatives by governmental and related bodies such as AgroXML, FarmXML and other formats with web services such as SOS and new technologies with built-in dynamic context awareness of vocabularies describing agricultural information using ontological approaches. A system will be developed as infrastructure for agricultural data through establishing standard APIs and experimental verification using platform and user resources building on past experiences such as Field Touch from IHI Corporation.

S5: Adoption of low-cost sensor systems equipped with information input functions and communication environment in fields nationwide and experimental verification with shared databases and information sharing systems

To provide solutions for costs of implementation and lack of increased sales or benefits for medium-sized farms that prevent adoption of agricultural ICT by medium-size and smaller grow operations, this project will develop low-cost (sales price in the 10,000 yen range) sensors for environmental information (simple weather station), growth information (3D stereo camera sensors) and work information (worker log sensors) and make the results thereof open. By expanding the market for through promoting participation by developers and adding next generation features based on various new proposed technologies, this project primarily complements (P1) Development of Practical Sensors.

S6: Development of low-cost mobile sensors and a next-generation workbench able to perform ecological analysis

This research group seeks to achieve lower costs for new growth technologies engineered with a scientific understanding of physiological botany. This project is not about collecting bulk sensor information from fields using large scale systems but will develop technology that can be used in cultivation with a proper understanding physiological botany connecting data from sensors to agronomy. By taking advantage of recently cheaply-available IoT devices, digital fabrication tools and digital circuit printing technologies, achievement will be sought of sensing systems including extremely low-cost sap flow sensors, soil moisture characteristic sensors and motion sensors. Accumulated data will be shared via networks and specialists and producers will cooperate to analyze it.

S7: Development and verification of open systems to share cultivation knowledge for small- and medium-sized farms

While large-scale farming operations have started use of ICT, it has been difficult for small- and medim-sized farms to adopt these technologies from a cost-performance perspective. To address the associated high-costs this project will develop cheaper sensors and network systems. The system's cultivation knowhow will be visualized through application to soybean cultivation. Experimental verification will enable indication of benefits of ICT use even for small- and medium-sized farms and case studies will be created as people participate in the technical learning stages or start employment in agriculture by making cultivation knowledge discoverable. We will experiment with the cooperation of famers at Handsome Garden Farms in Uda City, Nara Prefecture and surrounding farms.

S8: Development and implementation of comprehensive quality indices for vegetables/rice with two-way exchange of information between producers and consumers, etc.

This research will develop a vegetable/rice comprehensive quality index (an evolved "Delica Score") comprising methods for using data related to vegetables and rice centered on tomatoes, indexing methods, methods for communicating to customers and other quality visualizations based on the "Delica Score." Providing indices that indicate quality of vegetables and rice across the market will appropriately connect the needs of users (across the whole supply chain) to cultivation data accumulated by a common agricultural ICT platform in order to ensure the ability to reproduce vegetable quality while enabling both passing on of cultivation technology and technological revolution leading to advancement of agriculture as a growing industry. These efforts should enable provision of increased benefits for consumers while reinforcing Japanese agriculture, forestry and fishery industries that provide high-quality products through careful production and transportation thereof.

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