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Aussies win tech prize for saving water

Posted by comtech3 on July 9, 2008

Correspondents in Sydney | July 09, 2008

A COMPUTER program designed to save water for Australia’s drought-stricken farmers has won a major international technology prize.

A team of four Australians developed the software and beat off competition from around the world to take out the Imagine Cup in Paris.

Sponsored by computer giant Microsoft, the competition involved more than 200,000 students from 100 countries.

Team SOAK (Smart Operational Agricultural ToolKit) impressed the judges with its unique software designed to help farmers monitor their water usage.

Team member David Burela, 24, said about six months was spent consulting with engineers and farmers and developing the software.

It gives farmers a virtual image of their farms and the ability to work out how much moisture is in their fields and what their dam storage levels are.

“Basically, it allows them to record how much water they are using and tells them how much they have left,” Mr Burela said.

“So, they’re able to water only where they need to and can maximise their water use.

“It’s amazing looking back six months ago when I was in my bedroom working on this and now here we are in Paris sitting in the Louvre with first place. It’s a giant step.”

Mr Burela and his fellow Melbourne-based team-mates – Dimaz Pramudya, Ed Hooper and Long Zheng – have already begun talks with Hewlett-Packard about developing the software further and selling it to farmers around the world.

“Every farmer we talked to, the first thing they would say was: `When can we buy it’,” Mr Burela said.


from Australian IT


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