We monitor insects to ensure sustainable crop utilisation and to improve tools for pest control and biodiversity for the benefit of mankind. By bringing a new technology to the market, we will fill gaps in knowledge of insect populations, leading to more sustainable agricultural production and improvements in insect control. On our journey we will make insect monitoring and risk assessment easier for our customers.
FaunaPhotonics combines state of the art optical- and data processing technologies to detect and classify flying insects creating tools that provide new insights.
Tech – Optics
LIDAR is a technology that resembles radar and sonar but exploits light. Our instrument shines infrared, invisible light on flying insects and automatically detects the back reflected light of each individual insect. This allows us to accurately measure the wing beat frequency, polarisation and other spectroscopic properties of insects flying through the sensor’s monitoring volume. In fact, our system is sensitive enough to measure the reflectance of clean air. On top of that our technology can measure the location of each insect based on a cost-effective triangulation principle. FaunaPhotonics aim is to develop a short range (30-50 meters) low laser power solution (class 1M) for insect monitoring using compact components at two wavelengths and novel methods that are in the process of being patented.
Tech – Analytics
Our analytical solution analyses insect sensor data and classifies each individual insect that is observed using a number of optical parameters. FaunaPhotonics deep learning algorithms examine thousands of images produced by the sensor to automatically classify insect species. Our technique can scout for many insect species at once providing real-time insights into in-field insect populations and abundance. We validate our technique in laboratory using large numbers of live insects of known species and are developing effective benchmarking strategies for in field performance.
Tech – API interfaces
Species specific insect density data combined with time and geolocations from the processed sensor data are an input to digital farming solutions. Our aim is to offer data integration between in-field sensors and customer software platforms.
Our systems are developed in constant collaboration with partners in the agricultural sector. By involving farmers, agricultural consultants, corporate R&D and scientists in our technical development we assure developing our technology along the needs of the agricultural sector. An affordable sensor-based digital solution which allows precise, accurate and efficient insect monitoring including forecasting will be greatly advantageous for growers worldwide.
Link to Bayer AG
Insect sensor for farmers
Insect pests directly damage crops causing significant losses and regular monitoring of fields is a labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly activity. At the same time, efficient pest control that is non-threatening to beneficials and pollinators is a major challenge. The ability to systematically, efficiently and accurately monitor insect populations is key to improved pest control. Through an automatic monitoring solution integrated into digital farming platforms, we will provide a reliable decision-making tool for effective integrated pest management. This is a major change from the current norm of manual observation and sampling that offer limited ability to characterize insect population dynamics at the plot level. In farming’s future in-field sensors will monitor insects and farmers will only treat fields when and where it is really needed. Insecticide spray programs will become more targeted knowing with better precision when is the optimum time to treat and what is the optimum treatment strategy for each field. Knowing what is going on in the field makes life easier, secures harvests, boosts yields and protects pollinators.
Our ambition is to become world leading in this domain.
Corporate R&D tool
Insects play a crucial role in ecosystems being it as pollinator, beneficial or pest, better knowledge about this role is essential to optimize processes in agricultural production. Our technology offers the proven ability to do continuous monitoring of insect populations and spatial mapping of insect activity on a far larger scale than has been possible before. Quantifying aerial insects in indoor and outdoor environments can give insight in a diverse number of essential topics such as pollination efficiency in seed production or dispersion behaviour of pests and beneficials. We can develop instrumentation dedicated to your requirements for you to achieve your research project study goals.
Current methods of acquiring data of insect behaviour are time consuming and labour intensive, limiting the scale at which scientific experiments can be performed. We can monitor insect activity across fields, lakes or any open area giving spatial and time resolved abundance information of different populations. We can assist with field research, operating equipment in the field and collecting data to inform scientific questions. If species specific data is required a larger effort is needed involving validated laboratory measurements using live insects. Weather parameters (light, temperatureandhumidity) have an influence on insect behaviour. FaunaPhotonics has experience with data correlation with weather data and can assist on this.
In addition to the agriculture solutions we are exploring alternative uses of this technology.
Monitoring insects that spread disease
As an example in an experiment in Tanzania our insect sensor device counted over 700.000 insects in five days and observed peak activities of over 1000 insects per minute. We are developing methods to be as species specific as possible and have worked with mosquitos of the Anopheles genus from which some species transmit malaria and Aedes aegypti – a mosquito that spreads dengue, zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. We are looking to enter projects that investigate how these insects behave and how population sizes change over time. We believe improved monitoring is necessary to better determine, which areas of the world need to be treated and re-treated with new intervention programs.
Monitoring sea lice
The development objective in this project is to provide fish farms with an optical remote sensing system that will measure the abundance, distribution and movement of larval sea lice, long before they start to attach to the fish or become a production problem.
What have we accomplished so far?
We do not yet have commercial sensor products on the market. Our team is developing the technology to improve accuracy and obtain as high insect species specificity as possible. Still near the beginning of this journey we have a lot to learn and prove. Functional models have been developed that we are testing in laboratory and field settings. Most important aim of these activities is to gather relevant data from crop fields that, with the experience built up in the lab setting, can be translated into in-field insect population mapping. We have learned that an interdisciplinary approach is crucial, and that significant lab work is needed to obtain a validated insect event data library for insect classification.