About Pessl Instruments GmbH
Pessl Instruments GmbH has been producing reliable measuring instruments for 37 years and has developed various devices for the measurement and monitoring of different agricultural parameters, being one of the leading IoT providers for agriculture offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for more efficient farm management. Participating in the IPM-Popillia project gives PESSL a chance to put into the farmer's disposal all its expertise on sustainable agriculture and fulfill its mission to offer high added value and customized cost-effective solutions and contribute to global environmental protection.
With the inspiration of helping the farmer to grow his crop in the optimal and most healthy way, the PESSL team developed an optical high-resolution camera system embedded inside an insect trap, together with a computer vision software, which is able to recognize insects from the photo and remotely monitor insect pressure at fields. Different types of traps are available, to cover a broad spectrum of insect species. All of the photos and data from computer vision software are displayed online, on a web portal called FieldClimate. iSCOUT® can be hung wherever in the field needed, due to its low weight. In the field, the device is self-sufficient, as it is powered by a solar panel and a battery. The iSCOUT® can be used to monitor the first occurrence of pest species on the field site, to observe population dynamics and apply insecticides following IPM guidelines as well as giving support at the time mass trapping should be started.
About IPM-Popillia project
The PESSL team works on a monitoring device for P. japonica. The aim is the remote observation of the first occurrence in an area as well as following the seasonal dynamics of an already established population (on low to moderate population sites), The target gets attracted by a lure and enters the trap system. After entering into the trap insects will get fixed on a glue board and photographed. Those photos are the base for the development of an automatic detection tool specifically for P. japonica. The traps have also been equipped with sensors collecting climatic data, temperature, and relative humidity. So we are able to get more detailed information about those parameters correlating with the flight behavior of P. japonica. We just installed the first 8 prototype traps, produced by PESSL, within infested zones in Italy and in Switzerland, to evaluate that innovative monitoring tool under field conditions in 2021.
Our Dev Team
Dr. Christina Pilz, Product manager for camera solutions and team lead
I started working for PESSL in November 2014, while being responsible for the Decision Support Systems in Plant Health Management (Disease models and Camera Products). Previous to Pessl's career, I collected professional experience particularly in the biology and microbiological control of agricultural pest insects, having studied agriculture at the University of Agriculture and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna and working, at the Research Station Agroscope in Zürich as well as at the Plant Protection Service in Hungary and at the Agency for Health and Food Security, Austria. At PESSL I started by supporting the development of disease model implementations and since around four years my focus lay also on electronically monitoring devices of pest insects in viticulture, agriculture, and fruit production.
M.Sc. Daniel Scheidl, Product developer
Since 2015 I have been working at PESSL, doing the 3D modeling and prototyping of new PESSL products. From weather stations to trap systems, our portfolio has increased over the years, and also have the challenges to bring a useful, simple, cost-effective product design to the end-user. At my Masters in environmental system sciences, at the University of Graz (Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change), I developed automated quality control routines for meteorological data from the WegenerNet climate observation network. Since 2013 I am frequently employed at the Wegener Center for projects in which I further improve and implement quality control algorithms.
Damir Najvirt, Machine learning engineer
I studied physics, specializing in stochastic processes and their role in the development of financial markets at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Maribor, Slovenia. I have been working for PESSL since 2016, where I developed image processing solutions for our camera products and automated systems for fruits and insects recognition. I am responsible for designing, evaluating, and enhancing our machine learning stack. I am especially passionate about the transformation of data into valuable information that, in turn, guides farmers all over the world.
David Muriuki Karibe, HW & FW developer
I studied applied physics, specializing in microprocessor technologies and instrumentation at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. I have more than ten years of experience in embedded systems design, partly teaching practical courses at the university and partially implementing commercial products. I have attended specialized training in sensor instrumentation, signal conditioning, and computational physics. I enjoy tinkering with hardware, building custom systems, and solving technical problems. Here at PESSL, I am responsible for the firmware development of cameras and other attachment devices used for the detection and monitoring of crops and pests by farmers. It is such a pleasure to know that the technologies we develop are helping farmers solve real-life problems and boost food production.
Eva Munda, Entomologist assistant
My entomology career started when I was about five years old and breeding mosquitoes in the living room. My parents were not amused, but I learned a lot about the life cycle of a mosquito. It was only a natural decision for me to study ecology and nature conservation at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Maribor. I started to work for Pessl instruments in June 2021 as an Entomological assistant, with the main focus on insect identification. In my free time, I like to cook, paint, and spend some time in nature hiking, mushrooming, or birdwatching.
M.Sc. Junia Rojic, Project support officer
At PESSL, I am responsible for all the administrative tasks related to projects, including among other proposals, reports, deliverables, time schedules, meetings, minutes, and budget control. I studied Industrial Engineering at the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil, recognized in Austria as a Masters's degree in Materials Science. With more than 12 years of experience in Project Management, including many years in Brazil working at R&D and IT companies, I am delighted to be part of a European Project, with many important stakeholders, and most importantly, supporting agriculture and food production in the 21st century. In my free time I do sports, like volleyball and indoor football, but also enjoy spending some time reading and in nature hiking.
M.Sc. Mario Höfler, Product manager for digital solutions
With an M.Sc. in Telematics and more than 15 years of software development experience in the fields of computer vision, computer graphics, machine learning, and lately agriculture, I am proud to be part of PESSL's team since November 2016. Previously, I worked 9 years on developing photogrammetric processing pipelines and aerial triangulation systems at Microsoft and co-founded a machine learning start-up. With PESSL, the journey started in the software team, transitioned to technical and strategic partnership topics, mostly software related, and later resulted in the products team, where digital solutions for our clients is my main focus area.
Marko Zorman, Head of software development
I have been working for PESSL since 2012 and was responsible for the transition to a new hardware and software platform enabling a steady growth in performance and network traffic. Currently, as head of the software development department, I am responsible for the coordination of back-end and front-end development and server administration. With more than 15 years of experience in Web development projects, working as a full-stack developer for various companies, I am overjoyed with the opportunity to lead a team of professionals working for the future of agriculture.
Murilo Costa, Full-stack engineer
As a software developer, I am responsible for the back-end and front-end implementation at PESSL. With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás, Brazil, I am proud to have more than 10 years of professional experience developing enterprise-level software and SaaS (Software as a Service) using Java and NodeJS, 5 years of experience with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) using the AWS platform, and 5 years of experience with mobile application development using Android, Ionic and React Native platforms.
We would like to take the opportunity to recognize and thank some other important stakeholders from PESSL. Without their support and collaboration, it would not be possible to have all we've already achieved.
Our management team for the support provided: