Introducing the Nexcito
At Climate Edge we believe that every business should be able to make management decisions based on personalised datasets. Our previous work with coffee farmers in Honduras demonstrated that no two fincas are alike and two producers may experience vastly different environmental conditions even though they are neighbours. However, the majority of smallholder farmers simply do not have any means of measuring ambient conditions and therefore have to rely on more generalised management techniques.
Climate Edge therefore places great importance on developing an affordable environmental monitoring device, allowing farmers to identify the conditions which most impact their production and how this can be rectified. This current project is the first trial of such an approach and is already generating fascinating insights into how farmers can use such tailored information.
In this blog post we wish to introduce you to the Nexcito data logger and show how, alongside our fantastic product designer Gabriel and electrical engineer George, we developed a tool that reveals a farm’s unseen conditions.
The brains of the device is kept safe and dry in a watertight jar. The Nexcito is programmed to take data every hour and remains asleep when not actively taking data. This ensures that it can last up to a year even though it is only powered by readily available and cheap AA batteries.
The Nexcito’s ‘Sombrero’ hides the air sensors away from heavy rains while allowing air to flow freely. This 3D printed piece is in essence a miniature Stevenson screen as seen on larger weather stations globally.
A major design challenge we faced was how to incorporate soil sensors into the device. We needed a solution which both anchored the Nexcito, preventing the toolkit from falling even in the heaviest of rains, and simultaneously enabled the sensors to remain in contact with the soil. After much prototyping with Gabriel we settled upon the use of a soil spike with the soil sensor placed in a cutout section, flush with the soil. This has proven its worth in rigorous UK tests but now we have to see if they can survive 4 months of Nicaragua’s worst – we are now entering the infamous La Nina weather event.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the producers we have worked with so far and In our next blog post we would like to introduce them and their work.