Lapis Semiconductor has developed a soil environment sensor for social infrastructure and IT agricultural monitoring, which can be used for productivity improvement, disaster prevention, and infrastructure monitoring.

Conventional methods may take a significant amount of time and is inefficient, involving sampling multiple locations then measuring the pH/EC using special equipment, with the results on soil conditions taking as much as a few weeks. In contrast, the Lapis-developed soil environment sensor can remotely monitor soil conditions much faster without the need to visit individual sensor nodes. Additionally, using solar panels to generate power in conjunction with the low power operation of sensors allows them to be deployed without the need for physical maintenance for extended periods.

Lapis_sensor-block (cr) Figure 1: The design allows users to quickly and accurately monitor soil conditions in agricultural applications. (Source: Lapis Semiconductor)

Lapis combined low-power MCUs, communication devices and temperature sensors with a newly developed acidity (pH) and electrical conductivity (EC) sensors to enable fast and accurate monitoring.

The design also uses a solar panel with Rohm's charging solution, allowing it to sustain itself for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, Lapis's wireless communication modules enable any number of nodes to be paired to a central node and provide a range of 1km.