A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has created Bhu Parikshak -- a portable, app-linked soil testing device that will help in analysing soil and using fertilisers accordingly. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed between IIT-K and AgroNxt Services -- which has licensed the technology and will mass produce it to bring it to the market.
According to the researchers, Bhu Parikshak signifies a major breakthrough in terms of providing easy, affordable soil testing and analysis for farmers. According to a statement, the device has a 5cm cylinder, where 5 grams of dry soil needs to be put for the device to analyse the soil composition.
Once this sample is added to the device, it can analyse the presence of six elements in the soil -- nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, organic carbon, clay and the soil’s cation exchange capacity. Based on the readings, Bhu Parikshak will also recommend the composition of fertilisers to be used in a stretch of soil -- based on the crops being grown.
To ease the process of analysing the soil, the device also comes with a companion app of the same name -- presently available only for Android devices, on the Google Play Store. The app can be connected and linked to the soil-testing hardware through Bluetooth, and the researchers claim that it bears an easy interface to help farmers understand the data in a simplified way.
The device will reportedly require 90 seconds to provide the analysed data. Over time, each unit can be used to test up to 1 lakh soil samples -- hence offering a fairly lengthy life span. It is presently not clear as to how much would a Bhu Parikshak device cost, or when would it be made available in the market.
In a launch statement, Abhay Karandikar, director of IIT-K, called this a “step towards achieving the goal of technology self-reliance.” The team of inventors included Jayant Kumar Singh, Pallav Prince, Ashar Ahmad, Yashasvi Khemani and Mohd. Aamir Khan at IIT-K.