Integrated human practices were well-tailored for the development of our project. We create a series of study to further discover the quality and practicality of our project. In the investigative study, we meet up with people from different backgrounds including agricultural academics, farmers, proprietors, and potential users. Therefore, we may integrate the opinions and advice into the project.
Expert Study—Advice from the professionals
July 13, 2016
A Visit to Agriculture Research Institute Council,
Applied Zoology Division,
Experimental experiences and advice must be learned from the professionals in the agriculture fields. We consulted Dr. Y.B. Huang and his postgraduate student in Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan. First, Dr. Huang told us the method of pest detection and interrelated knowledge. Details and techniques of insect cultivation, the lifestyle of larvae’s in the different growing stage, and feeding assays were generously offered by Dr. Huang. Particularly, he taught us how to feed the larvae then even gave the feeding food recipes to us.
Other than conferring knowledge, Dr. Huang also gave us some remarks for our project, enabling us to realize the difference of agriculture in manufacturing and research. He claimed that our system is gaining its necessity as the mode of agriculture in Taiwan has been gradually transforming into agricultural production and marketing group. The need for systematic management of the farm and the real-time monitor is growing. The device can help them detect the pests and analyze the related data such as temperature, soil moisture, and rainfall in real time and so on. Furthermore, he let us visit the cultivation room of oriental fruit flies, which is of his expertise. He also shared us with his experience of propagating new agricultural technique dealing with aged farmers. He said that “Though, the prevalence of our idea is in the embryonic stage, and the average age of working farmers is 63, which means that farmers are not likely to be familiar with electronic devices, senior aged farmers will start to learn how to use smartphone as long as our system work exceptionally well.” We were honored to have such opportunity consulting with Dr. Huang. Especially, we were thankful to Dr .Huang for providing us with the data of the number of moths in the central Taiwan in 2016 from Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute to train our prediction model.
Figure 1. Visiting expert. group photo with the professor Huang and his postgraduate student in Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute Council of Agriculture. Dr. Huang is the third person on the left hand in the second row, and the postgraduate is the third person on the left hand in the back row.
Figure 2. Discussion with Dr. Huang and his postgraduate student in Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute Council of Agriculture.
A visit to National Chung Hsing University,
Department of Entomology,
Techniques of insect sample cultivations and feeding assays are not an easy task to master for they require empirical research and trouble shootings. Therefore, we went to the Department of Entomology at National Chung Hsing University to visit Professor Shaw-Yhi Hwang, whose specialty focuses on the research of tobacco cutworms. We presented our project to him and asked some advice for the insect feeding test. Surprisingly, Prof. Hwang was willing to supply us formulas of calculating the oral toxicity of artificial diet and larvae for the experiment. Prof. Hwang also invited us to learn the experiment about larvae in his laboratory. This sufficiently enhances our ability of feeding test. We gained rich, useful knowledge through the visit and appreciated the hospitality and generosity of Prof. Hwang.
Figure 3. Group photo with Prof. Shaw-Yhi Hwang and the research assistant. They stand on the right side in the picture.
Figure 4. The laboratory of Prof. Shaw-Yhi Hwang and the assistant taught us how to cultivate the larvae.
Figure 5.The thermostatic chamber where the larvae grew.
User Study—Visit the farmers
To make sure that our design truly satisfies the needs of potential users in the future. We went to the Organic Green Market in National Tsing Hua University to investigate the opinions from the farm owners. In the investigation, first, we introduced our project briefly and asked them about some basic practical knowledge. Inquiries such as major crops, the existing major pests, pests in the urgent need of killing, pest resistance, the rampant season of the pests, and methods of prevention were made to probe the farming scenarios.
According to our product demonstration, apart from introducing repellent peptide—Pantide, we also asked them some questions about the device including the detector and the automatic sprinkler to get farmers’ recognitions and recommendations.
Most farmers appreciated our project because, in the recent organic agricultural system, the pests of cruciferous vegetables still rage on the farm. The major pests are Lepidopterans that damage the produce significantly. They had positive feedbacks for Pantide and were willing to take a try if it is effective. For farmers, PANTIDE coupled with the automatic detector and sprinkler device can not only solve the problem of pests but also achieve the functions of monitoring the farm in real-time, thus realizing the idea of labor-free agriculture. Surprisingly, some of them are willing to use the whole system. Additionally, the farmers are glad to let us go to their farm to catch pests for intra-laboratory experiment and provide us with their farm to let us have a real test for the field test. They expect us to finish our project quickly because they hope that they could use our product to solve the problem of pests in cruciferous vegetables—Lepidopterans as soon as possible.
Figure 6. Visiting potential users, a group photo with the manager of Foshan organic tea garden, and she is the third person on the left hand.
Figure 7. Visiting potential users, a group photo with the elder of Shi-Lei farm, and he is the third person on the left hand.
Business Study—Visit the proprietors
Pesticide residue has covertly jeopardized our health as vegetables, fruits, crops, and other produces sneak into supermarkets, food stands, teashops, and even the domestic dining tables. In particular, the culture of hand-shake beverages is common in Taiwan, and citizens in Taiwan drinks 44 cups of beverage per year on average. We want to investigate the tea leaves sources in teashops further and ask the proprietors of teashops about their views on the related issues. Therefore, we went to the famous organic tea store—Yinchuan and consulted with the owner about the general choice of tea leaves and the tea quality in tea shops.
Yinchuan is an up-scale teashop targeted for affluent customers. He said though the cost of organic tea is high, it still has its market value. He also reminded us that if the upstream farm using pesticides, the downstream farm will be polluted by the pesticides residues, too. This better substantiates the importance of non-toxic pesticide. We think our project will solve this problem due to Pantide is biodegradable. He believed that the business trend of local, organic and safe agriculture would become the major in the future as customers are gaining the consciousness of food safety.
Figure 8. Visiting the boss of the Yinchuan organic tea store. The picture shows our team members focused on the sharing of boss.