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2023-06-30 10:57

Phu Yen: Two students create robots to support production for farmer to producing salt

The model "Robot for salt field farming and salt rake controlled by Smartphone" can help salt farmers to apply in salt making in Xuan Binh and Xuan Phuong communes (Song Cau Town - Phu Yen).

Vo Huynh Hoang Nam and Dang Duy Minh Quan are 10th grade students at Phan Dinh Phung High School in Song Cau Town, Phu Yen Province created “As a child in Le Uyen salt area (Xuan Phuong commune, Song Cau town), I have felt the hardships of the people here in salt making. In the salt production process, the process of compacting the salt fields and raking the salt when harvesting is considered the hardest work of the farmers so we research and create this robot model with the desire to serve the people of the land" Dang Duy Minh Quan shared.


Vo Huynh Hoang Nam and Dang Duy Minh Quan (1st and 2nd, left) receive the 10th Science and Technology Competition for high school students in Phu Yen, school year 2022-2023 (organized by Phu Yen Department of Education and Training, January 13, 2023)

Create a model from reality

According to the Economic Department of Song Cau Town, the traditional salt-making profession is concentrated mainly in two regions: Tuyet Diem in Xuan Binh commune and Le Uyen in Xuan Phuong commune. Currently, there are over 570 households engaged in salt production with an area of 183.8 hectares, of which 13.5 hectares are producing clean salt by tarpaulin method.

Saltman Tran Van Quy (53 years old), the third generation of a family with a long tradition of salt making in Le Uyen village (Xuan Phuong commune, Song Cau town), said: "Making pure white salt grains, saltiness... is a hard labor process, salt people have to "carry the sun" on their backs to do it with many different stages: preparing the field, compacting the field (flattening the mud), draining sea water into the field (water tank and salt farm), raking salt when the salt has precipitated to harvest… all must be done in the weather as hot as possible”

Vo Huynh Hoang Nam described: "Currently, the people in Tuyet Diem and Le Uyen still use the traditional manual method of manual salt farming. They use tools made from large wooden sticks, with handles (shrimp trees), taking advantage of the gravity of the swamp trees to make the ground of the salt field hard and flat. In order to compact a field, it takes people many hours, even many sessions to compact again and again…”

Dang Duy Minh Quan said: “Harvesting salt is also a hard work for salt farmers. People often use a salt rake (salt page), a wooden rake with a bamboo handle of 5-7 meters long, people stand on the edge of the salt field, using their strength to push the salt into piles, it takes a lot of effort and time with low effeciency”.

From reality and with the aim of applying scientific and technical advances to salt production stages in Tuyet Diem and Le Uyen, student Hoang Nam and Minh Quan learned via the Internet, apply knowledge absorbed from school. In particular, the research and creation process of "Robot that tampers with salt fields and rakes salt controlled by Smartphone" was consulted, shared experiences, and helped by teachers and salt farmers in Tuyet Diem salt village.

Teacher Huynh Van Nhi, teacher of Foreign Languages (English) of Phan Dinh Phung High School (Song Cau Town, Phu Yen), instructor and model commentator of Hoang Nam and Minh Quan, evaluation: “Nam and Quan are excellent students of the school, although they are in 10th grade, they are very passionate about technical creativity. Especially creating the Robots model with the desire to apply it to my hometown people who currently produce salt, I am very grateful for the spirit of the children."


Dang Duy Minh Quan (left) and Vo Huynh Hoang Nam (right) check their robot products.

Useful model

Hoang Nam and Minh Quan confirmed: "The robot software for tamping salt fields and raking salt is controlled by Smartphone" because we programmed completely by ourselves in the MIT App Inventor 2 language. It is "run" on Android mobile devices; the installation size is about 4.0 MB. The robot receives commands from the operator, sending signals to the Arduino Mega 2560 main board via Bluetooth or Wifi connection. Compatible with Vietnamese symbols. This makes it easy for ordinary people to access the product, and it is convenient for the process of control and use”.

Teacher Huynh Van Nhi, said: “The robot frame is made of 4cm x 3cm thick box of galvanized iron to prevent rust. The robot design is mobile, easy to move between the salt fields. The robot uses a 12V electric motor with a capacity of 250W, this motor can help the robot bear a load of up to 80 kg, enough for the robot to move easily and perform its function: effectively raking salt fields and raking salt. With the use of the arduino Mega 2560 R3 board - the largest and most modern of the arduino circuit boards, with up to 54 digital pins, the robot can easily upgrade and add more features; “The robot's moving system is powered by a 12V dry battery with a capacity of up to 15 Ah. The micro-controller system is powered by a new generation 18650 (Lithium-ion) battery, environmentally friendly with very low operating costs, easy to recharge when the battery runs out with the power supply (battery and batteries) has a capacity of 16Ah, the robot can work for many hours without charging”.

Regarding robot technology, when compacting the salt field, Hoang Nam described: "When the salt field is compacted, the robot will be controlled to pump water into the wheels (welded with stainless steel inside) and the robot weight will increase to 70 kg. . With this weight, it will be easy to compact and smooth the skin of the salt field”; “When not compacting the salt field, the software will control to pump water out of the wheels, the robot weight is reduced to about 30 kg, help salt farmers can easily move between salt fields or preserve…” Hoang Nam described.

Regarding the salt raking feature, Minh Quan said: “Robots are controlled through software with a 12V electric piston. When it is necessary to rake the salt, the software controls the rake to lower it, when the salt is not scraped, the rake is raised to facilitate the movement. In addition, the robot is equipped with a speed controller up to 400W to change the speed when compacting salt fields or raking salt easily through the control software.”; “The robot's steering system is controlled through an electric piston and motor control module, so it has high accuracy and stability. The robot is also equipped with an infrared obstacle sensor, when encountering an obstacle, the robot automatically changes the signal light system from green led to red led and emits a sound with a buzzer, alerting the user…" Minh Quan, shared more.

Master. Le Quang Viet, Principal of Phan Dinh Phung High School, said: "The robot that dresses the salt field and rakes the salt controlled by a Smartphone" by Vo Huynh Hoang Nam, and Dang Duy Minh Quan, honored to win the second prize of the Provincial Science and Technology Competition for high school students in the school year 2022-2023. This is a reward for their passionate creative efforts; and at the same time spread the creative and technical movement in schools stronger. School leaders, will direct instructors along with 2 students to supplement and complete the model, to participate in the 10th Technical Innovation Contest for Youth, Youth and Children of Phu Yen Province (2022-2023)’’.

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