Girish Chowdhary Wins Illinois Innovation Network Award | Computing

EarthSense co-founder Girish Chowdhary, professor of computer science and agricultural and biological engineering, recently received the Innovation Award of Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), a group of public universities and community colleges that work together to improve the state’s economy.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these innovators and their discoveries,” said Jay Walsh, acting vice president of economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois system, which coordinates the network of centers for education and innovation of the IIN. “These are all examples of the incredible research, discovery and education going on at universities in our state, and we are incredibly grateful for the impactful work each of them does.”

Girish Chowdhary, pictured here with the TerraSentia robot, won an Illinois Innovation Network award in August 2021.

EarthSense enables the creation of highly productive, resilient and sustainable crops, and fundamental improvements in agricultural profitability. Its first product, the TerraSentia Robotic Field Phenotyping System, provides 100 times more trait data for one-tenth of the effort, compared to current methods of field data collection.

The compact and easy-to-use under-canopy robot measures essential plant characteristics such as stem width, leaf area index, and leaf and stem diseases with unprecedented precision and ease. EarthSense machine vision and machine learning-based analytics seamlessly convert terabytes of multi-sensor field data into quantitative, consistent and objective information to reduce these risks.

The TerraSentia robot uses sensors to collect data on crop health, as well as machine learning-based analytics to convert that data into actionable information for farmers.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EarthSense is working to adapt its autonomous robots for cleaning in hospitals and public spaces. By reducing the need for sanitation workers, EarthSense robotic cleaning units can help reduce community transmission rates of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

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