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IIT-K Develops Device to Detect Soil Health in 90 Seconds

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The Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) has developed a portable soil testing device that can detect soil health in just 90 seconds through an embedded mobile application.

The technology titled Portable Soil Testing Device or BhuParikshak will assist individual farmers in obtaining soil health parameters of agricultural fields with a recommended dose of fertilizers.

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The first-of-its-kind invention is based on Near Infrared Spectroscopy technology that provides real-time soil analysis reports on smartphones with an embedded mobile application named BhuParikshak available on Google Play Store.

The device can detect six important soil parameters: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic carbon, clay contents, and cation exchange capacity. It also recommends the required dose of fertilizers for the field and crops.

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“Farmers are our caretakers. But 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. I am delighted for the team from IIT Kanpur for developing such a novel device that will assist individual farmers in assessing the health of their soil in almost no time,” Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT-K said in a statement.

The device can test up to 1 lakh soil test samples, which is the highest testing capability of a soil testing device among its predecessors.

The portable and wireless soil testing device requires a mere 5 grams of dry soil sample for detecting macronutrients present in the soil. Once the soil is poured into the 5 cm long cylindrical-shaped device, it connects itself with the mobile through Bluetooth and starts analyzing the soil for 90 seconds.

After the analysis, the results appear on the screen as a soil health report, accessible on the BhuParikshak cloud service with a unique ID. The report also comes with a recommended dose of fertilizers.

The mobile application is made user-friendly through the user interface, which is available in local languages, such that even a class eighth pass person can easily handle the device and the mobile application, the institute said.

The rapid soil testing technology has been transferred to an agritech company named AgroNxt Services, which will aid in the manufacturing and marketing of the device to farmers.

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