Optimization, optimization, and optimization. Sometimes it feels as if there’s no end to optimizing your vertical farming operation. Now, imagine how difficult that would be if it weren’t for sensors. The company Leaf AI knows that quite well, and their understanding of the importance of sensors is ingrained into the upbringing of Manuel Friedrich, founder of Leaf AI. He says that he was indeed just a toddler when he was trying to figure out how to help his mom water the plants more efficiently. That was the first seed of Leaf AI.
“Our solution is for both indoors and outdoors and can be used to measure many of the things going on in cultivation. For instance, some of our customers use their sensors to measure soil moisture to optimize their fertigation strategies, and save up on precious resources such as water and fertilizers.”
Plug and sense system
All the sensors are connected to a smart data logger named Leaf-Connect. “It’s self-reliable, maintenance-free and can be easily installed on any magnetic surface. The setup app drives the user through the installation with ease, and then they can group the different sensors to monitor different aspects of their cultivation on our platform Leaf-MyGrow,” Bastian Saumweber from Leaf AI says. “You can connect up to 100 sensors to one Leaf Gateway, which has a 10km radio in clear sight, making it perfectly suitable for open field, greenhouse, and indoor cultivation.”
He continues to explain that especially the Leaf AI’s hydroponic sensors are perfect for vertical farming. “I’m saying this because those sensors measure the amount of fertilizer in the water, water pressure, and temperature. On top of this, combining that with climate sensors that measure the air temperature, humidity, and so on, it goes without saying that an operation can be more efficiently optimized.”
How things are connected
Culture plans added soon
The company has quite some plans for the future, adding further features and functions to their sensors. “For instance, we’d like to develop our own ecosystem, because we measure a lot of different data, and we see a lot of potential for further optimization. Our next step is to introduce culture plans for growers so that they would have a grow recipes book constantly at their disposal.
On top of that, we want to further develop that into climate control, allowing growers to steer their crops remotely. By simply connecting to Leaf-MyGrow, growers would be able to see all that is going on in their cultivation, and address potential issues through informed decisions,” Bastian points out.
The crop monitoring interface
Proactive data analysis
Leaf AI also allows a grower to have a proactive approach, as a direct result of data analysis. “Optimization is based on the knowledge we gather from data. With that, we can help growers predict how a given cycle is going to perform, and how to tweak the process to get the most out of the crop. Our team can also support growers to analyze the data they gathered if they can’t do that themselves. At the end of the day, optimization is one of the keys of vertical farming, and our solution and expertise address that directly to give growers tangible results,” he concludes.