A device developed by students and researchers from Baja California monitors variables that affect wine quality.
Students and researchers from CETYS University developed technology that allows winegrowers to remotely monitor temperature, humidity, and luminosity in vine crops through sensors and using an application (app) for mobile devices.
The innovation of the crop monitoring system lies in costs and labor reduction achieved through the use of domestic technology that allows grape producers to make smarter decisions that are critical to maintaining quality standards in wine production.
The business name of this technological innovation is Agrow, which has a market niche defined by the 79 thousand acres of vines planted in México, 20% of which are used for the production of national wines, according to the Mexican Council of Winemaking.
Agrow was the result of a collaboration between students and researchers of the engineering programs in Digital Graphic Design, Software, Electronic Cybernetics, and Mechatronics, who identified the market opportunity for domestic technologies in a field dominated by foreign brands.
Dr. Josué López Leyva, a researcher at CETYS University College of Engineering and one of the project coordinators, explained that Agrow’s viability was demonstrated through the use of a prototype that reached level 6 (out of 8) on the Transversal Technology Commission of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt).
“It is a technological development that has clear potential in the market, it is something that has already been tested in the field, in a real environment, in this case in the wine industry”, said the academic, who foresees the final result as “a technological package that will bundle hardware, software and operating manuals. A product ready for deployment”.
The operation of Agrow begins with the installation of an array of sensors through the vineyard which collect data and store them in a database; the data is then processed using a software app designed to display the results of the monitoring on mobile devices, through a user-friendly interface.
“The app has user-defined alerts, in terms of the variables that the sensors are monitoring,” explained professor Lucía Beltrán Rocha, researcher, project coordinator, and academic director; the software “has the capability of displaying graphs to visualize the behavior of a variable in a certain period of time ”.
Monitoring humidity, temperature, and luminosity in vineyards mean that the producers can program irrigation with greater precision and prevent pests and diseases in plants, explained engineer Abraham Domínguez Arce, field manager of the El Cielo vineyard in Valle de Guadalupe.
“Currently we review the temperature periodically and record it in logbooks, but with this type of devices we could optimize times and save water,” said the engineer, after successfully having used the technology developed at CETYS University in his vineyard.
Agrow is financed with resources that the College of Engineering of CETYS University channels through the Center of Innovation and Design (CEID) for the development of projects that meet the needs of the industrial sectors of greatest impact in the region. Students are challenged to apply their knowledge towards developing solutions for real problems.