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Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15500-15519; doi:10.3390/s121115500

Programmable Ultrasonic Sensing System for Targeted Spraying in Orchards

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2012 / Revised: 18 October 2012 / Accepted: 24 October 2012 / Published: 9 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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This research demonstrates the basic elements of a prototype automated orchard sprayer which delivers pesticide spray selectively with respect to the characteristics of the targets. The density of an apple tree canopy was detected by PROWAVE 400EP250 ultrasound sensors controlled by a Cypress PSOC CY8C29466 microcontroller. The ultrasound signal was processed with an embedded computer built around a LPC1343 microcontroller and fed in real time to electro-magnetic valves which open/close spraying nozzles in relation to the canopy structure. The analysis focuses on the detection of appropriate thresholds on 15 cm ultrasound bands, which correspond to maximal response to tree density, and this was selected for accurate spraying guidance. Evaluation of the system was performed in an apple orchard by detecting deposits of tartrazine dye (TD) on apple leaves. The employment of programmable microcontrollers and electro-magnetic valves decreased the amount of spray delivered by up to 48.15%. In contrast, the reduction of TD was only up to 37.7% at some positions within the tree crown and 65.1% in the gaps between trees. For all these reasons, this concept of precise orchard spraying can contribute to a reduction of costs and environmental pollution, while obtaining similar or even better leaf deposits. View Full-Text
Keywords: air-assisted sprayer; ultrasound; algorithm; programmable microcontroller; spray distribution; orchard air-assisted sprayer; ultrasound; algorithm; programmable microcontroller; spray distribution; orchard

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Stajnko, D.; Berk, P.; Lešnik, M.; Jejčič, V.; Lakota, M.; Štrancar, A.; Hočevar, M.; Rakun, J. Programmable Ultrasonic Sensing System for Targeted Spraying in Orchards. Sensors 2012, 12, 15500-15519.

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