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30 November, 2015 - 12:38 By Kate Sweeney

Sensor tech driving new agricultural revolution

Andrew Baker-Campbell of TTP,

Sensor technology is driving a new agricultural revolution that promises to transform food and other crop production. And Cambridge companies are creating much of that technology.

Sensor innovator TTP is commercial sponsor of the ‘Sensors in Food and Agriculture’ conference on December 1 & 2 at the Moller Centre, Cambridge
The event is organised by Sensor100, supported by Cambridge Cleantech with TTP the commercial sponsor.

Andrew Baker-Campbell of TTP (pictured above), who chairs one of the key sessions, said: “TTP applies its expertise in sensors over a wide range of markets, from explosion-proof safety sensors for oil rigs to tiny sensors embedded within medical implants.

“One market where we see great potential for significant growth is food and agriculture. Pressure on water, restrictions on use of chemicals and (of course) increasing demand, all drive the requirements for smarter farming.

“This is arguably the largest industry in the world and there have been huge advances in mechanisation over the last hundred years, but if you compare to something like the pharma industry there is still a lot more that can be done.

“At TTP we often sit at the interface between cutting edge research and real-world problems. For our clients there is a lot of value in just being aware of the great ideas that are out there, whether they are from academia or from other industries.

“For academia there is both monetary value, and a lot of satisfaction in seeing your ideas really make a difference. In the Sensors in Food and Agriculture conference, TTP sees a great opportunity to bring companies with a technical need together with academics and innovative start-ups with great technologies.

“It is from these kind of combinations that the next game-changing idea can emerge. I will be at the conference chairing sessions, contributing to panel discussions and talking to delegates to try and encourage just this kind of innovation.”

Dr Baker-Campbell chairs a discussion on connected & remote sensing; this features Rob Lind of Syngenta; Dr Sachin Shende of KissanHub; Andy Thurman of Omnisense and Dr Eric Ober from the National Institute for Agricultural Botany. Other sessions cover sensor applications in agriculture, food analysis (from farm to fork) and  biosensor applications.

Jessica Norris of NESTA gives a keynote address on ‘the tech behind the farms of the future.”

She reasons: “The countryside is set to be transformed by fleets of robots, smart tractors and remote sensors promising increased farming profits while minimising environmental impact. But how could this change day-to-day life on the farm and what should the Government do to support these changes?”
 

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