Land Maverick is just one of the big ideas that will be unveiled at this year’s entrepreneurship competition, the Fairfield StartUp Showcase, on April 26.
Land Maverick builds on the trend of using science to improve agricultural practices versus relying on trial and error.
— Ryan Munden, PhD, associate dean of Engineering
If you’ve ever seen a prototype for a robot, you know it’s impressive. Last week Emily Yale ’18 and John O’Neill ’18 shared a sneak peek of the first prototype they’ve built for a robot designed to revolutionize the way soil sampling is conducted in the agricultural industry. The robot, referred to as Land Maverick, is the product of their year-long senior design project in collaboration with Jose Osorio ’18 and Ryan Ferreira ’18.
In addition to building a prototype from the ground up, doing research at local farms to inform design and functionality, and programming the robot to move on its own, the students are also building a business plan to launch Land Maverick. As part of Fairfield’s annual shark-tank style entrepreneurship competition, the StartUp Showcase, team Land Maverick has been selected as one of four teams to make their business pitch in April in front of a panel of investors and live audience to compete for seed money to launch their business.
Ryan Munden, PhD, associate dean of Engineering and Land Maverick’s faculty advisor said, “Agriculture has benefited dramatically from technology to increase productivity and meet the global demand for food. Land Maverick builds on the trend of using science to improve agricultural practices versus relying on trial and error. With Land Maverick, farmers will be able to understand what a plant needs to increase crop yield.”
As Yale explained, in addition to increasing crop yield, Land Maverick will also inform farmers of the best time to fertilize their fields which will mitigate the impact of runoff water on local ecosystems. The robot will also give farmers a reliable way to test which nutrients are in their fields and what might be lacking. Soil sampling will be completed in hours, compared to current methods that take weeks, and results will be ready the same day versus having to wait for lab results to come back.
Yale proposed the idea for Land Maverick last spring as her senior design project. She knew she wanted to combine her interest in robotics with her interest in agriculture. Yale has extensive experience with robotics through her participation as a mentor in local FIRST Robotics competitions where she mentored local youth to build robots for competitions. She is also a member of 4-H which has exposed her to farms and has contributed to her interest in agriculture.
Don’t miss Fairfield seniors Yale, O’Neill, Osorio, and Ferreira pitch Land Maverick at the Fairfield StartUp Showcase on April 26, 2018 at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts. To reserve your seat, please visit fairfield.edu/showcase-rsvp.
Can't make the Showcase? You can catch the action live on Facebook.
For more information about entrepreneurship opportunities at Fairfield visit fairfield.edu/entrepreneurship.