Arable Labs Inc. recently unveiled a professional-grade crop and weather sensor that’s solar powered, rugged and was designed by Fred Bould, the creative talent behind the Nest thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide detector, as well as Fitbit, GoPro and Roku products.
The “Arable Mark”, which looks something like the head of a small drum or a translucent small frisbee, contains sensing technology including: a six-band spectrometer, 4-way net radiometer, and acoustic rain gauge. It is also solar-powered so it doesn’t need to be plugged in or require frequent battery replacement.
Its sensors enable each “Arable Mark”, to constantly monitor crop growth, or regrowth of grass in a pasture, as well as rainfall, crop water demand, light and heat levels and even the color of berries on the bush, kale leaves, or grapes on the vine, which is important in determining harvest-readiness of the crops.
Arable CEO and founder Adam Wolf said, “Data quality is profound to us. This measures more observation streams than any other embedded device in the world outside of medicine, and is sending data to the cloud where it can be accessed and analyzed in real time.”
The idea for Arable sprang from the founder’s academic research work around forecasting maize growth in Kenya, Zambia and other African markets facing severe drought, along with economic impacts and food scarcity resulting from it, he said.
Growers are already using Arable’s hardware and cloud-based software to figure out harvest timing and the potential yield of what they’re growing.