Online app helps agricultural growers track, manage insect populations

July 30, 2012  


Johnny Park insect data

Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa Technologies, reviews insect data collected in an agricultural field and placed on Mytraps.com. Mytraps.com is an online application that will help growers and pesticide consultants electronically track the number of insects in crops to better control insect crop damage and improve the use of insecticides. (Purdue Research Park photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An upgraded online application designed and developed by Purdue Research Park-based companies can help growers and pesticide consultants electronically track the number of insects in their crop fields so they can better control crop damage caused by insects and improve the use of insecticides.

The enhanced MyTraps.com enables growers and consultants to electronically manage insect data and pesticide records on a secure website by entering the data into the site through a Web browser or smart phone. The information can then be exported into an Excel document to help growers and pesticide consultants review and update data as often as necessary.

Spensa Technologies Inc. developed and launched MyTraps.com this year, and Allegro Dynamics LLC developed the software for the program. Both companies are based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

"Having definitive data that identifies the location and numbers of insects in a given field will help growers target the use of insecticides to areas where there are concentrated insect populations," said Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa and a Purdue research assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. "Reducing insecticide use not only reduces the cost to the growers, it reduces the amount of chemicals that are released in the environment."

Insect management programs are a fundamental aspect of the agricultural business, Park said. In the United States in 2010, crop growers lost $20 billion to insect damage and spent $4.5 billion on insecticides.

online ap Mytraps

The online application Mytraps.com shows the insect data collected in agricultural fields and an aerial map of the fields so growers and pesticide consultants can electronically manage insect numbers and better control crop damage due to insects. (Purdue Research Park image)
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MyTraps.com can be used with any type of crop including corn, green beans, soybeans, apples, oranges, pears and grapes.

"As an online subscription service, MyTraps.com maintains insect data in a fast, efficient manner that not only shows the current insect population, but also historical data that can help growers anticipate future growing seasons," Park said. "Another important feature is that the program provides aerial field images taken from satellite cameras and places the insect data over the image of the fields so growers can see the insect population data on photographs of the fields."

For more information, visit Spensa Technologies at http://www.spensatech.com/

Spensa also is commercializing the Z-Trap, which automatically detects the number of target insects captured by the trap and sends the data wirelessly to the grower's mobile phone or computer. The technology, which was developed by Park at Purdue University, is being used to collect data on codling moths, Oriental fruit moths and leaf rollers in apple orchards, but will eventually be used to collect insect data from other types of crops.

Park said that Spensa is in pre-production of 75 Z-Traps and will carry out large-scale field experiments and evaluations during the 2012 growing season with an expected launch of the Z-Trap in 2013.

About Spensa Technologies Inc.

Spensa Technologies is a startup housed in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. The company was founded in 2009 by Johnny Park, president and CEO. Spensa's mission is to design, develop and deliver novel technologies for the agricultural industry that will reduce reliance on manual labor, foster eco-friendly farming and enhance crop production efficiency. Their technologies leverage the team's world-leading expertise in wireless sensor networks, robotics and computer vision.

About Allegro Dynamics LLC

Allegro Dynamics, LLC is a software design company specializing in Web and mobile technologies. Allegro works with entrepreneurs to turn their technology ideas into products. Allegro was founded in 2009 by Ben Brame, president, and Zach Mason, director of technology. Before coming to Purdue University for graduate school, Brame and Mason worked together at a software company building applications for the Web and for mobile devices. Allegro Dynamics focuses on those strengths to build innovative Web and mobile applications.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country in four locations across Indiana. The parks are home to about 200 companies that employ 4,000 people and are located in West Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis and New Albany.

Contact: Cynthia Sequin, Purdue Research Park, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Source: Johnny Park, 765-588-3592, johnny.park@spensatech.com

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