The ‘Smart Garden’ wins yet another award
The "Smart Garden" project, carried out by Prof. Dr. Murat Aşkar, the Rector of Izmir University of Economics (IUE), and his student Mert Kalaycı, in order to develop soilless agriculture using local and national software, received another award. The project, which ranked second among 400 projects at the Entrepreneurship in Agriculture Contest organized by Türkiye İş Bankası only two months ago, succeeded to be third among 471 projects in the TET Project Market Competition organized by the Electrical and Electronics Exporters' Association. Leaving many ambitious projects behind in the competition held in the fields of "electrical, electronics and informatics", Smart Garden provides 3 times more efficiency than normal agriculture thanks to LED lighting and hydroponic plant units.
In 2016, teaching at IUE Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Prof. Dr. Murat Aşkar initiated a joint graduation project on soilless agriculture with then senior student Mert Kalaycı. Prof. Dr. Aşkar became the consultant of Kalaycı's undergraduate thesis about growing soilless plants in gardens, and the duo continued their studies in the laboratory at the University. Prof. Aşkar and Kalaycı founded an R&D company named "UpTechlabs" with the grant of 150 thousand TL they received within the scope of TUBITAK’s 1512 Multiphase Entrepreneurship Grant Program in 2018. Prof. Dr. Aşkar and Kalaycı, who started R&D studies in an area of 150 square meters in Izmir Tekeli Organized Zone (ITOB) Trade Center, have received nearly 1 million TL of support so far, together with individual investor contributions. Finally, Prof. Dr. Aşkar and Kalaycı received 50 thousand TL as an award at the TET Project Market Competition. The Smart Garden Project received a new investment last month with an evaluation of 5 million TL. The Smart Garden will soon be seen on the walls and countertops.
95 PERCENT LESS WATER
Pointing out that the world may be facing the problem of food production and drought in the near future, IUE Rector Prof. Dr. Murat Aşkar emphasized that soilless agriculture will gain importance day by day. Indicating that they get 3 times more efficiency than normal thanks to LED lighting and hydroponic plant units using national and local software, Prof. Dr. Aşkar said, “The importance of soilless agriculture increases with food production and drought. The project was developed with Industry 4.0 and LED technologies. It is possible to produce at the desired location, using 95 percent less water compared to normal agriculture, without using any pesticides with the LED lighting unit developed specifically for plants in indoor environment.”
WE WORKED ON 96 SPECIES
Stating that the project that he started during his undergraduate study is growing day by day and that he is very proud, Mert Kalaycı, who is also a graduate of Electrical-Electronics Master's Degree with Thesis, said, “Working with our rector is an important experience for me. Soilless agriculture is a reality of our age and very important in terms of sustainability in agriculture. In soilless agriculture, the elements the plant needs are added to the water. We have collected data on 96 different species so far. We created seedlings from seeds of 76 products and carried out the production of 31 products. The best conditions for photosynthesis are provided with LED lighting units and photon algorithms developed specifically for plant species. We have developed sensors, equipment, and software for our system. Each module in the system works in a controlled manner by communicating with each other and offers remote control.”