The Robotics Vision research group at the Department of Physics and Engineering of Northwest Nazarene University, conducts research on machine vision technologies applicable to automation, robotics, and other areas like agriculture. At present, the team is working on developing a remote sensing system that monitors agricultural field. The system is composed of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mounted with a multispectral camera that acquires an image of the field from a bird’s eye view.
A MATLAB algorithm has been developed that identifies and outlines the canopies of the primary trees in the two-dimensional, side-view images that we obtained from an orchard. The basic algorithm outline is shown below.
The art of farming has been all but lost in today's world of mass-production. Instead of individual crops being given exact amounts of water, nutrients, and pesticides, entire fields are treated uniformly. Even distribution of water and nutrients means that some crops may receive too much while others may be malnourished. The broadcasting of fertilizers over entire fields wastes fertilizer, which costs farmers money, and also wastes tilling, which intensifies erosion. The application of pesticides and herbicides over entire fields can result in over-treatment that damages crops and polluted watersheds.
The Robotics Vision team has recently been in collaboration with Matthew Sichenze, a computer science major at Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID. Matthew is developing an algorithm for detecting and counting trees in images to be used in conjunction with our aerial crop monitoring system.
A few team members of the NNU Robotics Vision visited Iowa Elementary in Nampa to show Mrs. Noble's 4th grade class what we are doing with out unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). We explained to the class how the "Parrot" quadcopter uses energy from the battery to turn the motors and spin the propellers and then in turn pull air from underneath to raise the quadcopter, enabling it to fly.
The new team visited the orchard today to do practice flights with the new Iris and the Okto. We took many photos with the Go Pro of the whole orchard as well as just the rows that we are working with. The individual pictures will be stitched together to create full panoramas of the orchard.
Today we visited with the NNU Alumni and Friends and showed them the Iris and Okto. We would like to thank Darl Bruner for inviting us to present! The audience was very interactive and asked many important questions. These questions ranged from the coverage of the copter to the savings for a farmer to the number of times we crashed.
Today we showed the Iris to the student who are attending the 2C STEM Science Camp. They were very excited to see the multicopter flying. for more information about the 2C Stem Camp visit there Facebook 2C STEM Camp.
Today the team was interviewed by the Idaho Statesmen. They were very interested in our research, they took some pictures of the team and the UAV while in flight. We also had the opportunity to meet with more local farmers from Idaho and discuss our research. Look for our
Dr. Duke M. Bulanon attended the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting in Montreal, Canada where he presented a paper Title: "Apple Orchard Monitoring Using Aerial Multispectral Imaging". There were many other researchers who were very interested in our research, he had a lot of questions.
On June 16. 2015 in Boise Idaho Dr. Bulanon sat on a research panel to foster discussion about using agriculture in the classroom. Other panel members includes Dr. Donald Thill from University of Idaho, Dr. Donna Delparte from Idaho State University, Dr. Van Christman from Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Dr. Tim Andersen from Boise State University. The summit was put on by the Idaho Department for Agriculture and Idaho Commerce.
Congratulations to Robotics Vision member, Heather Skovgard, for winning the Miss Rodeo Idaho.
Yesterday the team presented at Boise State University at the Annual Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research. There were many important question and we gained valuable information from others researchers.
The Robotics vision team presented a poster during the UAS Mapping 2015 on September 29-30, 2015 in Reno, NV. The presentation is "Automatic Detection of Individual Apple Trees in an Apple Orchard Using Modified Watershed Algorithm".