The project of students from the Institute of Radio Engineering Systems and Control of Southern Federal University received grant support after winning the “Student Startup” competition. The guys have developed a compact and inexpensive device for year-round weather monitoring in the fields.
Meteorological stations are divided into professional — like the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia — industrial and household. The latter are installed in houses and apartments, and it was their design that a year ago was carried out by SFU student Vladislav Samchinsky , studying in the specialty “Automation of Technological Processes and Production”.
“But a year ago, a farmer living near Taganrog came to our department of automatic control systems and asked us to conduct research on the production of weather stations for year-round monitoring of environmental parameters in his fields. Me and several other students from SKB Automation and Industrial Internet of Things became interested in this topic, and we began development. So I switched from home weather stations to industrial ones,” shared Vladislav Samchinsky.
The fact is that Roshydrometcenter gives average weather indicators for fairly large squares, besides, not all professional weather stations have soil humidity and temperature sensors, and people whose business is related to agriculture need to know the most accurate data from a specific field.
After conducting a survey of the target audience of their invention — farmers in the Rostov region — SFU students learned that the main parameters they would like to monitor are air and soil temperature, precipitation level and wind speed.
“There are some devices on the market that can cope with these tasks, but they are unreasonably expensive: 75–100 thousand rubles each. We figured that we could produce weather stations much cheaper. In addition, since this will be our own development, we will be able to add or remove some functions based on the purpose. With the help of simple modifications, our weather station can be adapted to monitor the weather on a resort coast or a section of a highway,” said Vladislav Samchinsky.
At the all-network accelerator «Exhibitor», business experts from the Southern Federal University told the developers how to turn a project of an intelligent autonomous weather station for agricultural purposes into a startup that will generate profit.
Vladislav Samchinsky founded and headed AgroMeteoLab LLC — the company will be engaged in the production of both the smart weather stations themselves and its various components: wind speed and direction sensors, precipitation sensors, etc.
The smart technology of the station is that it will be synchronized with a web application on the farmer’s smartphone.
IT specialists from IRTSU SFU are developing a very clear and intuitive application interface that will adapt to consumer needs. For example, if a farmer has several fields and several autonomous weather stations, he will be able to produce both comprehensive data output and for each station separately.
“The weather station prototype has been successfully tested and has proven that it can operate autonomously throughout the winter. We will have a second phase of testing this summer and the product will be ready to go to market. Individual entrepreneurs and agricultural companies have already told us of their readiness to purchase weather stations,” concluded Vladislav Samchinsky.
The scientific supervisors of the project were senior teachers of the Department of Automatic Control Systems of the Institute of Radio Engineering Systems and Control of Southern Federal University Alexander Nomerchuk and Viktor Solovyov.
Student entrepreneurship is a special segment of the economy that stands out even from other sectors of small and medium-sized businesses. Young people with access to the resources and infrastructure of the university, when they open their first startups, not only gain experience in running a business, but also fill narrow niches in the economy — respond to audience needs that would not be paid attention to by large business corporations. That is why Southern Federal University encourages the development of student entrepreneurship and the participation of students in competitions such as “Student Startup”.
“In recent years, we have seen clear progress in bringing startup projects to market. In particular, using the example of Vladislav, who previously completed the intensive courses of the Southern Federal University “SfeduNet 2.0”, “SfeduNet 3.0” and the network accelerator “Exponent”, he is especially pleased with the desire to work with the target audience — end users whose problems the product solves. In every intensive and accelerator program, we convey to students the importance of initial validation of hypotheses in the real market,” noted Stanislav Trufanov , director of the project office for the development of innovative and entrepreneurial competencies at the SFU Technology Transfer Center, coordinator of the university’s entrepreneurship and startup development system.