A group of Texas A&M students win “Invent for the Planet” competition

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 3:21 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Seven teams from all over the world met today in Bryan to present in the final round of “Invent for the Planet”.

The final presentations included students from Texas, New Mexico, Qatar, Brazil and Thailand.

Texas A&M had representation of it’s own, Rachel Simms, Devon Rever, Natalie New, created “Aquabox”; a sustainable and easy way to farm aquatic organisms, or aquaculture, in developing nations. Aquaculture production is a dominant industry in developing Asian countries, but current practices are labor-intensive and unsustainable for the growing populations that need fish for protein.

We created a modular solution of sensors that can monitor aqua culture in developing countries,” said Simms. “Our product enables those that don’t have as much time or aren’t as familiar with aquaculture to be able to implement and monitor an aquaculture system.“

The team’s device digitalizes the process of monitoring aquaculture by sitting in the water channels and monitoring the health of the farm through light sensors. The sensors monitor the aquaculture systems’ pH, alkalinity and fish activity through a camera within the Aquabox, which allows the device to suggest changes to the farm through data input. The team has adapted this method to an integrated rice and fish farm, which provides a symbiotic relationship for the fish and the crop, reducing the need for pesticides. The Aquabox can be used to increase food production within the world’s fastest-growing food sector and decrease the number of pesticides and fertilizers used to farm fish and crops. The device itself is solar-powered, waterproof and weatherproof. It is affordable to farmers in developing nations, adaptable to different aquaculture systems and portable for easy transfer between farms.

Their innovative got them first place with a reward of $5,000.

In February, nearly 500 students around the world looked beyond borders and tackled some of the biggest challenges facing our planet. In the end, seven teams advanced to the final competition with their impactful and innovative designs.

Their solutions include individual disaster resilience kits; products to increase food production within the blue bioeconomy, the world’s fastest-growing food sector; an interactive art installation to conduct and store electricity; an app to fight food waste; and more.

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