The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, has developed a portable testing device that can detect the soil health in just 90 seconds through a mobile application using merely five grams of the soil as sample. This first-of-its-kind invention is based on near Infrared spectroscopy technology that provides real-time soil analysis report on smartphones with an embedded mobile application, named Bhu Parikshak, available on Google Play Store, the IIT-Kanpur said in a statement issued here.
The technology has been transferred to an agri-tech company, AgroNxt Services Private Limited, the statement said. The portable and wireless soil testing device requires five grams of dry soil as a sample for detecting macronutrients present in it. Once the soil is poured into a 5 cm-long cylindrical shaped device, it connects itself with the mobile through Bluetooth and starts analysing the soil for 90 seconds.
After the analysis, the results appear on the screen in the form of a soil health report, which is accessible on Bhu Parikshak cloud service with a unique ID. The report also comes with a recommended dose of fertilisers. The device can detect six important soil parameters, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and organic carbon. It also recommends the required dose of fertilisers for the field and crops. The rapid soil testing device will assist individual farmers for obtaining soil health parameters of agricultural fields with recommended doses of fertilisers, the IIT-Kanpur said.
The device can test up to one lakh soil test samples, which is the highest testing capability of a device among its predecessors. The mobile application is made user-friendly through the user interface, which is available in local languages, so that even a Class 8 passout can easily handle the device and the mobile application, the statement said. Institute Director Abhay Karandikar said, “Farmers are our caretakers and they face a lot of hardships. One such hardship is getting their soil tested and waiting for the results for days. That will not be a hassle anymore."
The device was developed by a team comprising Prof Jayant Kumar Singh from Department of Chemical Engineering, Pallav Prince, Ashar Ahmad, Yashasvi Khemani and Mohd Aamir Khan. The idea for it arose from the general observation of a common problem, wherein a farmer has to wait up to a fortnight for getting the soil health cards from distant district soil testing laboratories, which takes a considerable workforce and time, the statement said.