Fourth year Electric and Electronics Engineering student, Rakesh Joe Francy, beat 200 global entrants in the Phoenix Contact's Xplore Automation Award 2015, to win second place with his initiative ‘Mini Automated Farming.’
Taking place every three years the international competition is based on new innovative ideas, based on the implementation of PLC (Programmable Logic Control) and HMI (Human Machine Interface). There are five categories: building automation, education, environment, recreation and inspiring engineers, of which Francy was the only environmental entrant.
Initially 85 teams were shortlisted from 29 different countries, and given 1,650 AED/300 GBP to build their projects, sending video updates to the judges on their progress every two months. Francy was selected as one of the top 30 finalists, travelling to Germany for the final round.
The four-day final stage saw his invention put on display and he had the opportunity to bring it to life for the judges in person. He beat teams from China, Japan, Russia and Germany in the final and was the only student representing the UAE.
Mini Automated Farming
‘Mini Automated Farming’ is based on the concept to grow fresh, essential cooking herbs or vegetables in a completely automatic way, without any input from the user, from the kitchen and without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. The result is a fully functional machine, which can grow six different types of herbs or vegetables and consumes approximately seven litters of water every 30 days depending on the size of the crop.
Francy said, “The mission and vision of this project was to integrate already available technology with modern clean farming techniques for people who lack the knowledge or resources to grow their own crops but are in need for them.
“I had a fantastic experience and to come second from such a large group of very prestigious international students is amazing. I was extremely lucky to have such fantastic support and guidance from my supervisor at Heriot- Watt University Dubai Campus Dr. P. K. Soori, and I am hoping to be able to take my concept further and show how it can make an impact for the people and environment in the region.”