The researcher in the facility showed me a tool which he said was capable of identifying the nutrient deficiency in various crop. It was the Konica Miltona SPAD-502 meter.
It was a handheld device with a clip like apparatus which could be used to identify the signs of nutrient deficiency by non destructively sensing the leaf's chlorophyll concentration.
- Rugged build quality
- Very expensive (1000$+)
- Hard to interpret by normal farmers
- No network functionality
Upon using the SPAD meter myself I was able to realize the fundamental flaw with it, The SPAD meter was exclusively designed for use by researchers and scientists. It did not need to be used by a farmer, The SPAD meter outputted the SPAD value which needed to be interpreted for the particular crop variety to identify and quantify nutrient deficiency and a regular farmer would lack those tools.
In the other end of the spectrum was the humble Leaf Color Chart
The leaf color chart was made by the International Rice Research Institute to help farmers make smarter decisions during fertilizer application, It however was hurdled by it's flaws leading to it's absense from farmers toolkit.
- Easy interpretation
- Validated by research institutions
- Extremely inexpensive
- Only for select variety's of rice
- Difficult to read under strong sunlight
- Narrow perspective provided on status of crop
My goal was now set, I wanted FarmCorder to be a device that would be accurate like the SPAD meter while being inexpensive and provide farmers with actionable data about their crop while being easy to interpret.