The main goal of the project SheepIT is to improve an ancient and ecological weeding practice, consisting in the use of animals, usually ovines, to graze the vineyards, eliminating the unwanted weeds and fertilizing the soil. As sheep tend to feed also on grapes and lower branches of the vines, causing significant production losses, project SheepIT is developing an autonomous mechanism that aims to control the sheep’s posture and location. The goal is to keep them within designated areas and prevent them from eating fruits and vine branches. Whenever the system detects an incorrect posture it emits a sound followed by an electrostatic stimuli. Associating the sound with the stimuli makes the sheep revert the behavior as soon as they hear the sound. After 3minutes they stop trying to eat above the defined height. And within 15minutes they just eat what they´re supposed to and the electrostatic stimuli ceases. The system relies on IoT concepts to monitor and control the animals. Data concerning the behavior and physical condition of each animal is sent, in real-time, to a cloud platform. This allows human operators to oversee the flock status, namely browsing the collected data about animals and equipment. It also allows deploying algorithms to process the data and detect abnormal situations, such as health conditions, lost animals or predator attacks, generating automatic alarms when such events occur.
The system architecture was designed in order to provide a flexible and adaptable solution regardless of the vineyard’s size and shape. Moreover, the human intervention is maintained at a low level, being only indispensable for setting up the devices. The system includes a portable electronic collar, carried by the sheep, responsible for monitoring and controlling its behavior; fixed beacons, installed in vineyards, responsible for interconnecting the network devices, defining the virtual fence placement and supporting the collar’s relative localization; a gateway device, that aggregates data from all the beacons and uploads it to the cloud; and a cloud application, responsible for gathering all the collected data and make it available to the user.
Project MobiWise – from mobile sensing to mobility advising, is building a 5G platform that encompasses the access infrastructure filled with sensors, people and vehicles, to improve mobility in the cities, both for commuters and for tourists. The project aims to connect any sensor, person and vehicle, and use all possible information to improve the user mobility, through a complete network and services platform for an Internet of Things (IoT) real deployment in a smart city. Specific examples include eco-urban routing, which requires data from people's smartphones, sensors and transportation to choose the best paths in the city, for commuters that have meetings throughout the city, and for tourists that aim at visiting touristic places.
Susana Sargento, researcher from IT in Aveiro and the co-founder of VENIAM, the spin-off company from IT that delivers disruptive technology for connected transportation and smart cities, is the coordinator of MobiWise. The platform will be tested "in real large-scale environments, both in Porto in the area of ecological mobility, and in Aveiro in the area of automobile driving, accident prevention and detection, and can then be transported to other cities”, says Susana Sargento. In Portugal, this platform can also be used in Águeda, while abroad there are already contacts to be made available in S. Francisco (USA), Barcelona (Spain) and Singapore.
Together with IT and the University of Aveiro, the MobiWise consortium also includes the CISUC - Center for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra, the CMUC - Center for Mathematics of the University of Coimbra and TEMA – Centro de Tecnologia Mecânica e Automação. Having started in 2017, MobiWise is a 3-year project supported by Compete 2020 under the SAICT – Sistema de Apoio à Investigação Científica e Tecnológica, involving an eligible investment of around 2,3 million euros, which resulted in a FEDER incentive of around 2 million euros.