summary or Soilcares

The Soilcares Foundation, connected to Wageningen University, early Scope Design to take the lead in the development of one bottom scanner. With this can farmers get a quick insight into the soil condition to then planting and fertilization to tune in with that. Scope Design developed both the complex technology in the scanner as the robust, dust and watertight housing. It generated enthusiasm from the client and users and a Reddot Best of the Best for technology and design.

design letter

Scope Design took the lead in the soil scanner to be developed. With this bottom scanner can farmers get a quick insight into the soil condition to then tune the planting and fertilization accordingly. One of the challenges for this assignment the heat development in a closed housing of the scanner, which is also in extremely hot conditions developing countries is used.

the approach of the project

Scope provided both project management and central project communication between international component suppliers, electronics developers, detail for the Soilcares Foundation engineers and the design team. In the development of the Soilscanner, an electronic product, the whole formed dust and watertight (IP65) housing, a first important specification, because the scanner is used on land in warm, dusty conditions wet rice fields or a muddy environment.

The making of a dustproof product is also important for obtaining correct results from measurements. Disruptions of the analyzes by measuring dust particles must be prevented.

At the start of the project, therefore, one was chosen boundary condition in the design that was used. Door with circular seals design, the dependence on clamping or closing force decreases and there is more control over good dust and water tightness. With this we limit the risks in the engineering and we achieve one reliable functionality.

In the final version of the bottom scanner, sensors protrude at the bottom of the scanner for measuring the soil moisture and the temperature. The design has been updated for this with the same water resistance and one electrical insulation for the humidity measurement.

ingenious heat management

The complete closed housing of the scanner contains a light source, which briefly produces extreme heat during a soil analysis. When the scanner is used in countries where the outside temperature increase considerably, this is an additional challenge with regard to heat regulation. That is why the eight components that make up the light source consists of one aluminum housing, which extends up to and including the handle. The total surface forms a "breathing surface" for the necessary heat emission. The wooden handle in the handle prevents gripping the scanner from becoming uncomfortable. At the same time, the use of metal in the housing reinforces the robust appearance of this product; A good example of ours integrated approach for design and function.

New cost-efficient light source

In addition, we have a completely new and very cost efficient light source designed together with the optical mechanical sensor heart of the scanner forms. With different types of infrared lights, Scope has designed three or four versions of a new light source and made functional prototypes of it. The prototypes are by the scientists within it project team (connected to Wageningen University) tested to determine the correct version of the light source. The result was technically so innovative that Soilcares was able to do it patent.

During the development has always been looking for ways to make the use of the scanner as simple as possible, so that the analysis can be carried out easily. To certain functions the app to move one button on the scanner was enough, that makes the scanner "Easy to Use."

First Test series in Kenya

Scope has two during the development of the scanner functional test series designed to test the operation and use of the scanner on location in Kenya. In the first functional model were an existing one sensor and light source processed. This mainly tested the entire system and context of the scanner in Kenya, such as sending information, the calculation modules, the app ed 

The second working test model worked on the basis of Arduino and contained the new light source designed by Scope and much cheaper to produce. This model mainly served to improve the heat management, the required robustness and other design assumptions, such as the construction with the metal housing and the load To test. In the final product is the electronics final and optimisations were performed on the calculation modules, the embedded software and the app.

It comprehensively testing in Kenya (and later also in other places in the world) provided valuable feedback and interesting points for improvement such as the ergonomic improvement of the handle angle. A intuitively fitting grip for the scanning of soil, it turned out that a different location had been designed than at that time in the model.


It, on location, at future end users Testing the functional models has ensured that one very good suitable end product could be delivered. A complex challenge given the many new components and functionalities and the very challenging circumstances in which the scanner is used.

It generated enthusiasm from the client and users and a Reddot Best of the Best for technology and design.