Real-time Monitoring of Agricultural Practices

Farmer in Orissa, India, Photo by Daniela Leon.

Farmer in Orissa, India, Photo by Daniela Leon

Many communities in rural India experience water shortages, partially due to unsustainable agricultural practices. 

To reverse this trend while maintaining the same yield and productivity of agricultural crops, faculty from Amrita University’s Center for Wireless Networks and Applications are developing a wireless sensor network system to monitor, inform, and eventually automate irrigation during dry seasons.

In partnership with Amrita University’s Live-In-Labs, Matthew Falcone, recent graduate of UB’s Environmental Engineering program, travelled to a remote village with a team of students to assess the status of the water supply, collect samples of various types of soil, and perform sensor range testing at various sites throughout the fields surrounding the village. Upon return to campus, Matthew and his colleagues conducted laboratory analyses to determine physical and hydraulic properties of the soil. These data will be used to design an experimental procedure testing and demonstrating the wireless soil sensor network to inform future projects that aim to improve village farming and irrigation.

Written by Jessica Scates

  • Name(s): Matthew Falcone (Environmental Engineering)
  • Mentors: Amrita University Faculty Members and Jim Jensen UB Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Country of Travel: India
  • Dates of Travel: December 2017-January 2018


Amrita University’s Live-In-Labs are 101 villages in rural India, where Student Researchers live, assess the local community’s challenges, and apply their educational training in the creation and testing of potential solutions. The central aim of Live-In-Labs is to find ways to integrate education into day-to-day life, and in so doing, to foster strategic planning (rather than mere survival) in rural communities. To that end, students work in interdisciplinary teams to apply and implement theoretical knowledge. 

Images from Matthew's time in India