Cool Tech: Internet of Trees maps the health of trees online

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Image Credit: KU Leuven

Industrial engineers from ‘Technologiecampus Gent ‘(KU Leuven) have developed a module that allows them to map the health of trees online. Using this module trees in a city or park can be monitored online. Pilot projects are currently running in Belgian Cities: Ghent, Beveren-Waas and Sint-Niklaas.

Everyone knows the Internet of Things by know. With the Internet of Things everyday objects are connected to the internet to exchange data. Researchers from KU Leuven have come up with the idea to apply this this to trees. "Through the 'Internet of Trees' we can monitor the health of trees on the basis of a number of parameters, such as the temperature of the sap flow in the tree or the movement of the tree", states researcher Stijn Wielandt. "The sensor module can provide useful information to, for example, managing the trees in a city or park."

Self-assembly package

The researchers are not only aiming at cities or managers of parks with their sensor module. "We consciously built the monitor very simply," says researcher Bart Thoen. "For example, anyone who has even a little working knowledge of technology and programming can get it to work." The monitor consists of a few sensors, a waterproof casing, a rubber band to attach the whole thing to a tree and a QR code to register the tree easily online. The only thing you still need is some handiness and two AA batteries. If you are interested in getting started yourself, you can request the module online via DNDLab, the makers lab on the Technology Campus Ghent.

Multiple applications

The whole system is not only easy to build, it is also open source. As a result, the module has a lot of potential in the ‘makers' community’. The application does not stop at trees: "You can build and program the sensor module in such a way that you can use it, for example, to see from a distance whether the water tank in your garden is full", Stijn Wielandt explains. "Are you waiting for a letter or package? Program the sensor so that you get a message as soon as something is in your mailbox. "

Source: KU Leuven press release

More information about the Internet of Trees project: https://www.dramco.be/projects/iotree/

You can follow trees that are already online via this link: http://dramco.be/projects/iotree/arbo/.


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