Process control is the implementation of control systems to optimize and improve the creation of value added products. At the same time, the main concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to place data acquisition and simple control methods at the fingertips of the everyday user. When we throw these together, it results in the most beautiful use of modern day technology. The ability to see real time data fluctuations, monitor the progress from kilometers away and still have to ability to alter or adjust process parameters at the touch of a smartphone is the next step for the modern age.
Kombucha, wine and homebrewing all grow in popularity everyday. The Lower Mainland has become the epicentre of the kombucha and craft brewing industry opening hundreds of new businesses over the last decade. A basic fermentation set up can range from full size conical fermenters to single gallon glass jars. The ability to monitor these processes can range from a wide variety of sensory arrays to simple airlocks. However, the real kicker comes from the complexity of controlling biological processes, such as the fermentation cycle. The addition of a living organism within a process creates a greater level of uncertainty, making it difficult to obtain the desired outcomes. This furthers the importance of machine learning algorithms and the complete control over all process aspects, such as temperature, pH, and nutrient supply. Our team, BIoT, is working to develop these algorithms and to find the means of controlling all aspects of the complete biological process.
It is BIoT’s aim to develop this affordable technology through the use of basic controllers and sensors that can be made available to the average person. Over the past year, the team has been working tirelessly on characterizing key aspects of the fermentation cycle, integrating modified sensors and using cloud storage to retain and analyze key data points. The team has now progressed onto its second design stage. Simultaneous small batch testing of fully equipped glass jars will provide the team with sufficient amounts of data to begin the machine learning algorithm. This will also provide unique opportunities to experiment with raw products as they go through the fermentation cycle.
With the summer in full swing, it is difficult to find enough time for family, friends and some R&R. It is even more difficult to make time for design projects, as well as seek dedication to progress them throughout these summer terms. I wanted to acknowledge all those in Envision and its projects who have dedicated their after work nights and weekends to develop this organization and all of its branches. With their proven integrity and self motivation, this upcoming school semester can be viewed with great promise.