As humans we channel a staggering 70% of freshwater consumption into agriculture and industry, but urbanisation is making it harder to secure water for increasing global demands. Meanwhile, unsustainable farming methods pose a serious risk to global agriculture by seriously dehydrating soil on a global level. It’s never been more important to improve the efficiency of existing irrigation systems but, until recently, farmers simply didn’t have access to cost-efficient tools to log watering systems effectively.
Sensprout is a Tokyo-based company producing a printed electronic sensor which wirelessly retrieves farming data such as soil moisture, temperature and electrical conductivity, before uploading it onto an online – or ‘cloud-based’ – database. Farmers can harness that data to tweak their existing water systems and avoid wasting water.
Founder and CEO Kazuhito Mine developed this electronics sensor technology at the University of Tokyo and researchers have already conducted live trials in Japanese wheat fields, vineyards and US corn and cotton fields, reporting data to optimise irrigation systems. Long-term goals include an online database to compare and contrast energy data from separate locations, helping farmers to optimise water consumption on a national – and potentially global – level.
Natasha Drewnicki has rendered her insatiable nosiness into a career in journalism and PR. When not juggling projects in Barcelona, she'll be surfing in North Spain or Cornwall.
Kazuhito Mine, CEO