2008 Imagine cup Australian winner. Project SOAK

We just had the great honour of being announced as the Australian winner of the 2008 Imagine Cup and will be flying to France in July to compete in the world finals (visit http://imaginecup.com/ for more details). This is a fantastic award to have won so I thought I would take the time to explain and give an overview of what SOAK is and the vision we have for its future development.

Elevator pitch
SOAK is an integrated software and hardware platform with the aspiration of helping farmers achieve sustainable use of their land. This is achieved through the integrated use of environmental sensing, rich visual front ends to display the information to the farmer, and a subsystem which controls farm equipment such as sprinkler systems

Sensing the environment
SOAK supports a wide range of sensors such as

  • Temperature
  • Rainfall
  • Dam depth
  • Salinity
  • Etc.

These sensors provide SOAK with the relevant real time information that is needed for the more advanced functionality.

External data resources
SOAK utilises a number of resources such as Microsoft Virtual Earth for mapping data, Weather forecasting for predictions on when to water, and the British Telecom SDK for SMS notifications when there is a critical event at a farm (such as a fault in farm equipment)

Manipulating the environment
An automated watering system allows for a very fine level of control over when to water. The weather forecasting is taken into consideration when calculating if now is the best time to water the crop. If rain is predicted to fall in the next 48hours, the system can hold back from water so as to reduce the water consumption of the farm.

User interaction
Currently SOAK has implemented 3 delivery mechanisms each targeted to a specific use and data consumption.
The Silverlight web application is the main access point for SOAK. Here we present very detailed and visual information tailored to management users. This was created as a mashup between Microsoft Virtual Earth and Silverlight 2.0 Beta1.

The Windows Vista Sidebar gadget provides data at a glance with the most important statistics about the areas they are concerned with.

The PDA application provides field operators with real-time summary information about the areas they are visiting and gives them access to a manual over-ride of the sprinkler system when out in the field.

Additional information
This was a very brief introduction to the SOAK system, if you would like to see a better one page overview please look at the executive summary that was submitted to the judges. SOAK executive summary

My team mate Long Zheng has also blogged about our project http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080523/imagine-cup-australian-winner-project-soak/

If you would like to contact me for further information about SOAK, please leave your details.
My twitter feed is http://twitter.com/DavidBurela if you would like to keep informed of the last SOAK information

By David Burela

30 thoughts on “2008 Imagine cup Australian winner. Project SOAK

  1. Congrats and well done, Dave (and Long Zheng).

    PS: Hope you didn’t reveal any secrets about your projects. Otherwise people might learn and extend your ideas onto their projects.

    Meantime, time to start action on version 2 ready for Paris!

  2. Very cool stuff you built. I’m sure there are many students that are interested in understanding how you built SOAK…so after you go to Paris..and hopefully win….definitely think about making several posts describing the tools and process you went through to built your applications.

    Congrats and have fun in Paris!

  3. […] SIG meeting last night and had the pleasure to hear David Burela give the same presentation that won him the Imagine CUP for Australia. The product that he and three other students created was called SOAK and is: SOAK is an integrated […]

  4. Hi David,
    We are an Australian Melbourne based company that has been manufacturing this type of technology for the last 15 years. We are very interested in what you have done with your team. And would like to discuss with yourself and the team the SOAK project in detail.

    Pease email me.

    Andrew Brown

  5. Intelligent Bewässern…

    Vier australische Studenten haben ein System entwickelt, mit dem die Bewässerung von Feldern optimiert werden kann und damit gleich noch den Imagine Cup 2008 gewonnen. SOAK, so der Name der Entwicklung, besteht aus Messstationen, mit denen die Tempera…

  6. Congratulations,

    your approach is really much needed, will you also show it at the Zaragoza World Fair that focuses on water?

    We do something similar for households (8,500 now, 100,000 by end of 2010), most on energy, but also for water, if metered.

    So, if people ask you for a consumer application, just send them our way.

    Test access is:

    Email = test123
    password = test123

    next page: object=traumhaus

    Best regards


  7. David and the team,
    Good work.

    We are interested in talkibg to you with regards to possibility of integrating your software with our wireless farm management systems.

    Our latest development is being released next month. This system comprises a network of wireless sensors that support inputs from soil moisture sensors, wind velocity and direction, leaf wetness etc. They also control arrigation valves and monitor amount of water distributed.

    Call 02 4361 7177 or email us at engineering@orbitcoms.com


    David Huisman
    Managing Director

  8. Hi,

    I currently use a Toro Irrigation system to control my farm irrigation and and detects faults (via flow) and current rain contitions and soil moisture… however the interface is a fat client and i would be interested to know if SOAK could be used to manage this system or obain reading from existing sensors? very much like a SCADA system…


  9. David,
    Looks like a great concept, good team and a lot of hard work to complete this project. WOW!

    Have you come out with a commercial version of SOAK yet? I am a computer engineer with a farm in South East Asia and I have been researching ways to irrigate most effectively. I would be interested if have any further information or details.

    Please email me at Jerry@SuanMekkla.com
    You are probably real busy… I understand … so just a short and simple note is fine…

    Best Regards,

  10. Hi David,

    I’d enjoy getting in touch with you about SOAK. If you can email me I’d enjoy the opportunity to connect and learn more about SOAK.


  11. […] Победитель австралийского конкурса Imagine 2008 года David Burela опубликовал пост о своем новом приложении  Beachy. Она также планирует сделать еще несколько программ. На проходящем сейчас конкурсе BizSpark Windows Phone 7 Workshop приложение Beachy было названо среди призеров. Победителем стал Dimaz Pramudya, информации о его программе пока нет, скоро должна появится в его блоге. Под катом еще скрины, видео. […]

  12. wao! i love this! pls team soak my team and i are aspiring to compete this year@imaginecup2014 our project is similar to what you’ve done. can you be our mentor pls….frm Nigeria

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