Express News Service
PATNA: Necessity is the mother of invention. Now, thousands of farmers in Bihar, facing the relentless menace of stray animals damaging standing crops in the fields, can heave a sigh of relief.
IIT-Kharagpur alumnus Ajit Kumar has developed an artificial intelligence-driven ‘Farm Surveillance-Cum-Animal Scarer” (FSCAS) device at Bhagalpur.
The device has proved helpful in preventing the intrusion of stray animals including blue bulls (Nilgai in local parlance) as well as crop thefts round the clock.
Installed in fields filled with standing crops at strategic points, the device starts blaring a siren and sending alert calls and messages over the cell phones of farmers as soon as an animal is spotted loitering or intruding within its range.
It is basically an artificial intelligence driven computerised sensor based electronic device, equipped with a night-vision backed camera.
Ajit Kumar is a resident of Shyampur under Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district, where after quitting a job with an MNC, he launched a start-up initiative called Stepupify Labs in association with another IIT batchmate Sagar Kumar.
Ajit Kumar said, “This device is battery powered and can be mounted on a pole or tree in the field along with installed solar panels to charge the battery. It can be customised as per the farmers’ request and has been tested in the fields at Khirighat (Antichak) in Kahalgaon sub-division.”
He said that it costs not more than Rs 15000 but in the near future with some more electronic and technical features being added, the price may slightly vary from what it is now.
“The images of animals loitering around the field or attempting intrusion into the field are picked up by sensors leading to an instant blaring of a loud siren that scares away the animals and alerts the farmers. Alert messages are also sent to farmers on their cell phones,” he said.
“We are planning to attach other crop monitoring sensors to this device to monitor the farm continuously along with survillnace to better serve our farmers,” he said, adding that offers for commercial production of this device were received from agro-tool making companies.
Besides this, Kumar facilitates research and development activities at Stepupify Labs at many villages including Lalapur, Bhader and Kahalgaon from last year.
“We have initiated technology based agro initiatives to remain in close proximity to the fields and farmers and will pave the way for rural youths to take up the path of entrepreneurship and work for upliftment of villages and farmers of Bihar,” Kumar said.
Kumar’s Stepupify Labs also imparts training to youths in robotics, STEM and in preparation for JEE (Main and Advanced) with the support of his wife Alka Ranjan Singh. In 2020, Kumar said that through his village-based labs, he had developed a UVC Sanitizer Robot for Covid sanitisation that was tried and tested by the Indian Railways.