IIT Kharagpur designs robotic system to identify diseases plaguing plants

Kolkata: IIT Kharagpur has designed a robotic system capable of identifying the diseases plaguing plants through camera-captured image analysis.

The robotic system consists of a tracked vehicle suitable for negotiating rough terrain field, a device mounted on the tracked vehicle capable of holding the camera and pesticide spraying nozzle, a pesticide spraying module, and camera-based vision module, an institute spokesperson said on Thursday.

Prof D K Pratihar, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering who is leading this innovative project said, "Our device can detect the plant diseases using camera and image analysis and consequently remove it."

He said this will help the farmers detect the disease accurately in their plants.

Again use of such a device instead of manual operation of spraying pesticide will protect the farmers from related probable health hazards, Pratihar said.

Talking about the potential of such technologies IIT Kharagpur Director, Prof V K Tewari, an expert in farm machinery design and precision agriculture said, "the government is giving a major boost to innovative rural livelihood technologies. Such technologies need to be taken from the lab to the land."

The device has been fabricated by a Mumbai-based company.

The developed robotic system is a battery-driven one and once fully charged, it will be able to perform its duty in the field for about two hours.

The robot will be operated remotely using buttons placed on a control panel and thus, a specialist technician may not be required for operating the robot in the field.

"We will soon resume the final assembly of the robotic system and field testing as we are recovering from the present COVID-situation. We have further plans in the future to make this robot intelligent," Prof Pratihar said.

The system has been designed under the project "Development of autonomous multipurpose agricultural robotic platform funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and run by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Kolkata as the nodal implementing institute along with IIT Kharagpur, BAU Ranchi and KCT Coimbatore.

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