The Brazilian development bank BNDES approved funding of US$ 8M (12.9 million reais) for the Innovation Center CSEM Brasil, Belo Horizonte, to develop technological systems for crop monitoring and to set-up an applied-research facility in nanotechnology, microsystems and sensors.
CSEM Brasil is an applied-research institute founded by CSEM of Switzerland in collaboration with Brazilian venture capital firm FIR Capital and the government of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The country's second largest state, Minas Gerais is rapidly evolving from a commodity-driven economy to one based on innovation and high-tech.
CSEM Brasil´s mission for agriculture is to equip the Brazilian and world farming sectors with a set of tools which provide relevant plant and soil information to assist farmers in achieving lower costs and higher yields with reduced environmental impact, whilst providing CSEM Brasil with a platform for further developments in other markets.
The precision agriculture systems being developed by CSEM Brasil will enable the monitoring of integrated sensors, connected to a wireless network for data transmission, distributed throughout the area. Accurate and automated readings of many physical aspects of the environment are possible and will provide consolidated data to the user. The project will have a concrete impact on next generation equipment for precision agriculture and thereby contribute to a smarter planet, creating, for example, devices able to contribute to water savings.
CSEM Switzerland's participation in the project will be in the field of knowledge transfer regarding wireless-sensor networks and microsystems. The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) has also contributed to the development of specific sensors potentially useful to the project and Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), the Brazilian national champion of agricultural research, with many branches worldwide, will also participate, specifically in tests and field trials.
Technologies used in the project and new to Brazil will also enable applied research and development work to be conducted in the country, targeting differentiated chip-packaging solutions, and the development of hybrid microsystems, all of which have applications in various strategic industries, particularly those working in harsh environments such oil & gas, automotive and aeronautical.
Visit the Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) at http://www.csem.ch.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.