Latest News

A PhD student wins $100,000 funding for an IoT project to bolster maize yields

Ms Theofrida Maginga, ACEIoT student pursuing a PhD in Embedded Computing Systems has secured a funding worth $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the Grand Global Challenge.

The grant is meant to develop a Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT)-powered Swahili chatbot that will detect diseases in maize farms that can’t be detected visually, leading to losses in yields and income.

This project was developed in collaboration with Dr. Jimmy Nsenga, an affiliated honorary Lecturer at the African Centre of Excellence in Internet of Things.

The funds will be used to develop a technology that will enable smallholder farmers with limited literacy and scarce resources to quickly and easily detect crop diseases.
"We are developing sensors that will be placed next to plants without disease. In the laboratory tests, when a disease was introduced to certain parts of the crop, some differences were noted over time", Ms Maginga said.

Maginga highlighted that they are going to develop a simple device that uses low power and that requires less interaction with individual farmers, but that can still be placed in the field, and farmers can be told what is going on in the field.