Welcome to the autumn season, a festive time of year when leaves change color, the air gets crisp, and apples are ripe for the picking. How does a metro’s community keep track of all the fruit at harvest time–especially when some varieties do not produce on the schedule? The answer is found, suprisingly, in the Internet of Things.
Atlanta’s pre-agricultural community cultivators at Concrete Jungle continue their ongoing collaboration with Carl DiSalvo’s Public Research design studio at Georgia Tech to find the best ways to remotely sense Muscodines and other local fruits as they grow. They have explored strategies to use drones and virtual mapping to document and inspect over 2,000 trees to effectively forage at a larger scale.
The teams have also built an electronic “nose” to sense ethylene (the organic compound that gives citrus and other fruit their distinctive scents) and alert the gatherers once the crop is ready for harvesting.
Carlos DiSalvo, Ph. D, describes the challenge as food systems meets emerging technologies and civic design, the Designing for Foraging project. “Concrete Jungle is distinctive because they donate the majority of the fruits they collect to local social service providers. One of the challenges of foraging at scale is monitoring fruit trees. Unlike an orchard, these trees are distributed across the metro region. Working with Concrete Jungle we are prototyping and studying systems and services to reduce the amount of effort needed to monitor fruit trees, with the goal of reducing the workload of volunteers and enabling more time to be directed towards the collection and distribution of the fruit to those in need.”
You can follow developments of the Designing for Foraging collaboration here.