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EU funded research team harness AI to monitor water quality and increase aquaculture production.  Researchers working on the €7.93 million EU-funded ASTRAL Project have developed an AI-powered sensor to automatically assess water quality in aquaculture sites and promote the growth and health of aquatic species, while also promising to increase productivity.

The low-cost system harnesses AI to model various physicochemical parameters that indicate the presence of organic matter that poses a risk to water quality in aquaculture sites.

To assess the amount of organic matter contained within a water sample, the innovative technology employs a compact MEMS-based spectrometer to measure the amount of absorbent and fluorescent spectra.

That data is then passed to a planktoscope microfluidic slide, which takes images of the water sample before sending them to the cloud for further analysis.

Elisa Ravagnan, ASTRAL project Coordinator, believes that the AI-powered sensor technology could prove itself to be an effective tool that promotes production and limits environmental risks.

“If we are going to deliver solutions that reflect the demands of society and the environment, we’re going to need to deploy technology solutions that can quickly analyse data and detect risk”.

“The AI Quality Water Sensor is an effective tool to avoid environmental risks and promote consistent and high-quality sustainable production processes that operate within ecological limits.”

“The electronics board embedded into the sensor is extensible and communicates with any wired or wireless network. This makes this device very adaptable to any type of water in almost any environment”.

“If we succeed in communicating the potential offered by AI Water Quality Sensor for both industry and society we can generate tremendous impetus and drive investment”.

Work Package Leader, Marcelo Pias, believes that the AI Advanced Water Quality Sensor could give the Atlantic Community an innovative lead by optimising natural resource utilisation in aquaculture while also meeting the ambitions laid out in the European Green Deal and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 12 & 14.

“As a result of population and income growth the consumption of seafood products per capita is expected to increase globally.

“Unfortunately bringing with it many challenges and issues such as environmental impact, habitat destruction, welfare concerns and market and economic challenges.

“The integration of AI Advanced Water Quality Sensor, machine learning and automated operations have transformed traditional farming practices, optimising supply chain logistics, and enhancing food safety standards.

“If we continue on this trajectory we will achieve a more resilient and sophisticated food ecosystem for the future by promising better productivity and responsiveness to market needs contributing to the ambitions outlined in the European Green Deal.”

The AI Advanced Water Quality Sensor is one of seven technologies developed by researchers contributing to ASTRAL, a 48-month project and was awarded funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The project brings together world-leading academics, industry experts, high-tech SMEs, future-orientated policymakers and technological entrepreneurs. It is also the key project within Crowdhelix’s Aquaculture Helix which aims to foster collaboration across the Open Innovation community of specialists in aquaculture and related disciplines.

Crowdhelix CEO, Michael Browne, believes that the Aquaculture Helix will help bring innovative business leaders and thought-leading academics together so that they can collaboratively develop solutions that will deliver competitive advantages.

“The Aquaculture Helix has become a thriving community of experts and stakeholders who are positioned at key junctions throughout aquaculture’s global value chain.

“Astral is indicative of the potential of the aquaculture Helix. It brings together a team of multidisciplinary experts who collaboratively build impactful solutions such as this AI-powered sensor to automatically assess water quality.

“Building these teams can take time, which is why we support researchers and industry experts to identify potential collaborators so that they can focus on developing solutions.

“Our Aquaculture Helix has grown to include over 300 international experts who are eager to engage in open innovation, develop new technologies and share their results among this focused community.”