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STTR Phase I: Instrument Design for the Optical Detection of Insects in Agricultural Settings

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1914372
Agency Tracking Number: 1914372
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: PH
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-06-30
Small Business Information
PO Box 83213
Portland, OR 97283
United States
DUNS: 079163034
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kyle Birchard
 (503) 412-9576
Business Contact
 Kyle Birchard
Phone: (503) 412-9576
Research Institution
 Montana State University
 Joseph A Shaw
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The broader impact of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project includes the development of new tools and methods for detecting and managing insect populations in the agricultural sector. The benefits of improved information about insect populations are substantial, including increased farm revenues through avoided pest damage and improved pollinator activity, and increased access to export markets by providing information that can be used to demonstrate compliance with the pesticide residue limits and biosecurity requirements of trading partners. On the cost side, this monitoring technology can improve the efficacy and reduce human health impacts of pesticide application through improved targeting of activities. Growers may further avoid labor costs of manual trap inspection and field surveys. Finally, decision support systems built upon this sensing technology can improve the quality of information used to guide farm investment decisions and can be used by crop insurers and financial service providers to deliver more cost-effective services to growers. The STTR Phase I proposed project will advance scientific and technological understanding in several areas, including development of optical engineering models to detect the presence of small organisms moving in complex physical environments, advanced signal processing approaches to discern these organisms from non-target objects, and the incorporation of user-driven elements into the design and testing process through collaborations with agricultural producers and crop scientists. Insect monitoring is slow and labor-intensive and uses methods that have changed little in decades. By the time problems are observed, it may be too late for effective management, or the options may be costly. Methods to detect pests and beneficial insects, such as pollinators, must be updated to deal with these realities. This project develops a system to measure distribution of flying insects in challenging agricultural settings such as orchards and vineyards. The instrument will use a patented Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) approach to locate and classify insects in three-dimensional space. The objective of the Phase I project will be to establish the ability of the system to accurately characterize insect behaviors in production agriculture settings, which will allow the improvement and development of new ecological models of insect distributions over space and time. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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