Day 2: Smart Farming Challenge

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We noticed the exhaustion from yesterday upon waking up, and that explained the time of arrival of some. The early birds arrived at 7am to take an optional training to use the manufacturing lab. Unfortunately, due to the fact that there weren’t enough of the Personal Protection Elements needed, this training had to be rescheduled to 9:30am.

Excitement started growing during the group presentations. In the end 13 groups were created with challenges such as efficient irrigation, urban farming and feeding of salt for livestock, amongst others. Funny names for the groups didn’t make themselves wait. Some of the most creative ones were, elReguero, De esta sal limos and Uff.

During the talk about how to build a prototype Giacomo showed us some key elements which are necessary in order to do innovation such as making mistakes, asking, thinking about the final user and teamwork!

 

 

And then there was finally time to work! During the brainstorming session the markers flew and the boards didn’t take a break before ending full of drawings, ideas and lists. Laughter flooded the environment and the room became a true centre of innovation.

 

 

The presence of the Centre of Orinoquía Studies (Centro de Estudios de la Orinoquía CEO) and the presence of Manakin Drones, were vital because many addressed them with questions about the challenges and the way to solve them. And even though the suggestion was to dedicate this time to do brainstorming and give shape to ideas, more than one already began to look for materials and to build. They didn’t waste any time!

When it was time to go up to the robotics workshop some were so concentrated that the preferred not to go up, until they lost to the curiosity of seeing what it was about or until they realised that almost everyone had gone up and they preferred not to stay working on their own.

The most enthusiastic about the workshop got there early and they managed to sit beside one of the 9 robotic cars that were distributed along the tables. Little by little the room started filling while Santiago Iregui and Alejandro Cendales explained how an Arduino can be used, how it can be connected, which are the inputs, etc. It was a good introduction about the topic and it helped many to work on their challenges!

Unlike the first day the stomachs were always full. There was a snack at 10am, lunch at noon and another snack at 3pm. Full stomach… happy heart and challenge solved. But what students liked the most was not only the food at the cafeteria but also that external students got to appreciate the university’s facilities and the campus.

With a full stomach we went back to the engineering building to hear a talk by the ministry of agriculture. Unfortunately digestion made some eyelids heavy and some heads too. Nevertheless, we learnt about the Government’s vision and some of the current programs on agriculture.

 

 

Then it was the turn for the turn for the talk by the ministry of Information Technology and Communications. What a good way of presenting! William Fabián Acevedo gave an interactive and fun speech, which pulled us out of our sleep and made us question ourselves about how technology is advancing for the people and not the other way around. At the end there were many questions. For instance, one participant asked if there were strategies to educate people from the city about the countryside and not only educate the countryside about technology from the city. William was speechless, surprised, but with a smile across his face. He hadn’t thought about this! Efforts had been concentrated on helping farmers with technology but nobody had thought how to help the consumer make more informed decisions. Very happy, William told us that these kinds of questions are very valuable to him and this is one of the gains he gets from doing presentations to students. We are so proud that we could show the ministry a new way of seeing things!

 

 

After so many talks and workshops everyone wanted to start building so during the design session they all ran to their boards, to ask for components and tools, the started making computer assisted designs, and they overwhelmed Alejandro with a list of materials they would need for the next day.

 

 

The 3D printing workshop given by Jorge Dueñas, from IMOCOM, fell right into place because students learnt how and what to print. They were able to ask many questions and Jorge managed to check some of the designs and give them council.

Again, exhaustion could no more and everyone left to their homes around 7:30pm.

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