At A Glance
The use of technology to address problems in manufacturing has been widespread, and now it’s become a growing trend in agriculture. Joe Mari Maja’s research explores how technology can be used in farming to optimize operations and provide data to assist in faster decision-making for the betterment of crops. His research on emerging technologies and agri-tronic devices produces sensors, unmanned systems and robotics to aid in crop health monitoring, selective harvesting and inventory management.
Maja focuses his research on emerging technologies for agriculture and how they can help optimize farm operations. He addresses current and future potential problems for farmers and seeks to provide solutions through technological innovations – sensors to monitor crop health (e.g., soil moisture), robotics (selective harvesting) and unmanned systems (drones to aid in real-time inventory management).
His research in intelligent agri-tronic devices includes the ability to analyze data and address necessary interventions to improve operations processes and crop health and allow for increased automation of farming systems. Through his newly designed technology, like soil moisture sensors, farmers can address needs based on real-time data. His sensor research also includes an online dashboard, providing environmental variable monitors, like soil moisture, and set levels so the system knows if and when to trigger irrigation or other automated processes.
Farming automation also includes the use of drones and robotics, and Maja’s research includes the development and use of these in inventory management, aerial spraying and selective harvesting. His work focuses on the utilization of RFID readers to assess inventory in a field or nursery and use of drones for aerial spraying of pesticide with the ability to target specific areas. In robotics, Maja is testing robots for use in selective harvesting so that crops are picked at their peak throughout a field even if the full field is not yet ripe.
Maja joined Clemson in 2014 to lead the Sensor and Automation Lab at the Edisto Research and Education Center.