Every year farmers lose up to 37% of crop yield due to weeds, the unwanted weeds share nutrients with the desired crop, reducing crop yield leading to lesser productivity. Although chemical weedicides have played a path-breaking role in the last decade to combat the weed problem, plants have developed weedicide resistance, and newly evolved varieties of chemicals have no impact of weeds.
To solve the problem, we innovated a solution based on the existing concept of ‘hyperthermia’ treatment to kill the undesired cancerous cells in the body.
The same selective cell death can be caused by weeds, in fact much more quickly and in a more cost-effective way.
We have created a digitized machine called E-DeWeeder to effectively kill weeds by sensing and analyzing based on vision algorithms.
The idea was born and worked on by an enthusiastic team, using microwave energy to destroy the weed. It was difficult initially to find team members for an entirely new technology. At Innovate for Digital India Challenge 2.0 we met a wonderful group as the members were experienced, the advice on technology development was great and followed by ideas on business development.
It was the eco-system at the place we worked which helped us learn, and we reached the accelerator phase. It is a wonderful feeling to be part of accelerator phase family where we share ideas, execute some important technology-driven algorithms and develop a product. The machine developed in the first phase was a little slow.
To make it more efficient, we used the fast and reliable Intel Real Sense® technology. We learned at The Challenge that the efficiency of Intel® products enabled better performance on digital platforms. Hence the platform enabled the use of fast and reliable Intel technologies, ensuring efficiency and a more robust, workable solution. The selective death to weed cells is only possible with the help of vision algorithms. It provides an extra advantage to producing data relevant to weeds. The Challenge enabled digitization of the machine to cause effective weed treatment after sensing weeds in real time through data analysis of weeds and also helps in reporting a new variety of weeds.
It was a joyful moment when we heard about making it to the top 20. It was a great learning experience at T-Hub and the sessions with the mentors were truly discerning. The journey to the top 10 involved brainstorming and pitching sessions with mentors.
The eminent jury panel understood the technology and suggested measures to improvise on our technology. Our team was equally excited to be a part of the boot camp and further explore opportunities with digitization of farming through a precision farming concept.
The mentors at the Challenge helped in shaping our product design and also assisted in developing a sales and marketing plan for the product, E-DeWeeder. The market access for rural technology is different from any other technology, and the suggestions really helped in the development of the E-DeWeeder. We worked on the idea of getting access to the global market for business.
Being in the top 10 is directly proportional to the growth of our product. We entered the new family of innovators, entrepreneurs, achievers and success makers. Intel® is a wonderful technology to work with; the high-end processors enabled the commercialization of the product.
It has been decided to develop the business throughout the nation in phases. The services are offered at INR 280/acre which is 1/7 the cost of any other method of weed control. It will ease out a lot of problems for our farmers, helping them grow at a parallel pace with the Digital India Vision.
In the first phase, four states of North India have been selected for a span of two years and eventually, we aim to expand our product reach across India and some parts of Australia, and the USA.