University creates 'invisible' fence to help farmers deter thieves

05/09/2022 10:50 PM
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A tech team from National Dong Hwa University installs the infrared
A tech team from National Dong Hwa University installs the infrared 'invisible' fence. Photo courtesy of National Dong Hwa University

Taipei, May 9 (CNA) A team from National Dong Hwa University (NDHU) has developed a solar-powered infrared "invisible" fencing system that helps farmers in Hualian County prevent the theft of their crops.

Initiated as a project by NDHU's Energy Technology Center, the infrared system sets up a detection fence that is blind to the naked eye, making it less conspicuous than traditional fencing but also visually pleasing to farmers.

The system works by blazing a siren when trespassers are detected, and a mobile application for the program developed by NDHU engineers also alerts farmers to trespassers and notifies local police of possible theft.

It is also designed to use renewable energy, making it cost effective for farmers since all they need is solar power.

Pai Yi-hao (白益豪), an associate professor at NDHU and the director of the technology center, said the team began working on the project earlier this year.

The team, which consisted of professors and students brought together by the NDHU Energy Technology Center, engineered the infrared sensors and the electronic transmitters of the system, as well as the waterproof shell to house all the intricate electronics.

The team also ensured that the solar power design was stable and made sure that farmers could use the popular mobile application Line to receive alerts and notifications, Pai said.

The tech team from the National Dong Hwa University pose with a water melon farmer. Photo courtesy of National Dong Hwa University
The tech team from the National Dong Hwa University pose with a water melon farmer. Photo courtesy of National Dong Hwa University

The project has not been without setbacks, however. As it was being installed in watermelon fields in Hualien, the team discovered that transmission of the signal was notably unstable because of geographical constraints.

The problem was then fixed with the assistance of Chunghwa Telecom, which helped boost the signal strength of the technology, Pai said.

NDHU's University Social Responsibility office, which is in charge of the university's social outreach program in Hualien, selected several watermelon farms covering around 40 hectares in the eastern Taiwan county for the technology.

Those fields were chosen because they were open and exposed to sunlight, the office said, explaining that the fields are optimal sites for the solar-powered infrared fencing system to harness the energy.

Local farmers who were given the tech were grateful, stating that they would no longer need to be out in the fields at night to worry about theft.

A water melon farmer poses with his smart phone that is already installed with a mobile application paired with his infrared fence. Photo courtesy of National Dong Hwa University
A water melon farmer poses with his smart phone that is already installed with a mobile application paired with his infrared fence. Photo courtesy of National Dong Hwa University

(By Lee Hsien-feng and James Lo)

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