One of the ways the team looked to test multiple value propositions is a prototype dubbed the Magic Stick. The Magic Stick can read temperature and humidity and compare the values over location and time. The experience is quite simple—farmers stick the tip of the Magic Stick into the soil of their field and press the button on the top. The device gives immediate feedback to the farmer using a green (for positive results) or red (for negative) LED. We also want to try this out to help predict crop spoilage by sticking it into piles of stored grain.
Analogous to having the stick send data to the Internet, the designers decided to make the device write to a local SD card which is easily accessed. The data captured is a time-series .CSV file containing latitude, longitude, temperature, and humidity that can be visualized. The Magic Stick will hopefully give the farmers a better picture of the health of their crops and yields.
After sharing the Magic Stick with farmers in Myanmar, they told us that they were looking for more feedback than just the presence of water. So we pushed the Magic Stick further still to give a more nuanced reading of the soil’s moisture. The Magic Stick then became a precursor to the team’s Betel Meter, a device that gives farmers feedback soil moisture.