Salt Water Tracker (SWT) based on Seeed Studio XIAO nRF52840 Sense

Saltwater intrusion is a significant problem for rice paddies in Vietnam, as seawater is increasingly penetrating inland and affecting crop yields. However, a solution has been developed to address this issue. The (Salt Water Tester) is a device that can monitor and regulate the salt level in the water. By using the SWT, farmers can ensure that their rice paddies receive the appropriate amount of salt, which can help to improve crop yields and reduce the impact. This innovative technology has the potential to make a significant impact on the agricultural industry in Vietnam, ensuring that farmers can continue to produce high-quality rice crops and maintain their livelihoods despite the challenges posed by saltwater intrusion.

Seeed Hardware: Seeed Studio XIAO nRF52840 Sense

Software: Arduino IDE、NXP MCUXpresso Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Industry: Smart Farming

Solution Deployment: Vietnam


Sea levels are rising. Salt seawater is penetrating severely into inland rice paddies in Vietnam Mekong Delta and other regions on Earth. It affects not only plants but also millions of people who live in the area. Leaves turn yellow and people get more diseases because of salt in water.

A temporary solution now is to use river water and rainwater to regulate salt level and wash salt back to the ocean. In the wet seasons, farmers store rainwater and river water in reservoirs. In the dry seasons, no drain drops and less upstream water cause salt seawater to intrude into rivers and vast canal water distribution networks. During these dry seasons, farmers use reservoir water for cooking and drinking, and to pump reservoir water to paddies to regulate the salt water acceptable for plants. One of the key successes for protecting people’s health and regulating water for plants is to monitor the salt levels in water. One of the key successes for protecting people health and regulating water for plants is to monitor the salt levels in water.

Currently, farmers use mouth to taste salty water or hand held devices to measure salt levels which are inaccurate and ineffective for large areas.

This project integrates a salt water sensor system on a Hovergames drone, making the drone become an amazing effective saltwater tracking tool. The Hovergames drone and its associate app QGroundControl is able to map salinity of salt seawater in rivers and vast canal water distribution networks to help farmers to know if water is safe for cooking and drinking, and when and what amount of reservoir water to use for regulating water for plants.

The Challenge

There may be several challenges when working on this project. Firstly, ensuring the reliability and accuracy of the sensor module can be challenging. The sensor module must be able to withstand various water conditions and accurately measure the salt levels in the water. Additionally, the wireless transmission of data from the sensor module to the host unit can be affected by various factors, such as distance and interference, which can affect the reliability of the data collected. Furthermore, post-processing of the sensor data may require specialized software and expertise, which may present a challenge for some individuals. Finally, the use of a drone for data collection may require specialized skills and equipment, which may be difficult to obtain or operate for some individuals. Overall, while the development of this sensor system has the potential to greatly benefit efforts to track saltwater intrusion, it may require some specialized knowledge and expertise to overcome these potential challenges.

The Solution

To ensure the reliability and accuracy of the sensor module, careful selection of high-quality sensors and materials that are resistant to water and corrosion can be used. Additionally, extensive testing and calibration of the sensor module can be performed to ensure that it is functioning correctly before deployment.

To address the wireless transmission of data, the use of high-quality wireless modules with a strong signal and low interference can be used. Data redundancy and error correction techniques can also be employed to ensure that the data is transmitted accurately and reliably.

For post-processing of the sensor data, specialized software and expertise can be obtained through collaboration with experts in the field. Alternatively, simpler data analysis techniques can be employed, such as using spreadsheets to analyze the data.

Finally, to address the use of a drone for data collection, specialized drone piloting skills can be obtained through training or collaboration with drone experts. Alternatively, a remote-controlled boat or other watercraft can be used instead of a drone for data collection.

Overall, while these challenges may present some difficulties, there are potential solutions available that can help to overcome them and ensure the success of the project.

The Results

This project has the potential to address a significant real-world problem – saltwater intrusion in rice paddies in Vietnam. Saltwater intrusion can cause significant damage to crops and result in reduced yields, which can have a significant impact on the livelihoods of farmers in the region. By providing a reliable and accurate sensor system that can track saltwater levels in the water and provide real-time data monitoring, this project can help farmers to better manage their rice paddies and reduce the impact of saltwater intrusion on their crops.

Furthermore, this sensor system can be expanded to other industries and applications beyond saltwater tracking in rice paddies. For example, it can be used to monitor water quality in other bodies of water, such as lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, to help prevent pollution and ensure safe water sources for communities. Additionally, the technology used in this project can be applied to other fields, such as environmental monitoring, disaster response, and scientific research. Overall, the potential applications of this sensor system are broad and varied, making it a valuable tool for addressing a range of real-world problems.

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April 2023