Maryland Patent of the Month – December 2022
Founded in 2018 in Baltimore, Minnowtech develops precision aquaculture technologies meant to maximize aquafarmer’s cultivation efforts. This endeavor requires constant innovation to optimize feed, predict harvest dates, and increase survival. Improving farming capabilities on a small scale has impacts on a global scale. Farmers are often left guessing about the best methods to improve outcomes, from how often to feed the livestock, such as shrimp, to how to predict devastating events like disease outbreaks. Minnowtech’s subsurface technology enables shrimp farmers to determine the total count and biomass of their shrimp with 95% accuracy, allowing them to optimize their harvests and profits.
Recently, the company has patented their cloud-based technology which measures the shrimp biomass in aquaculture ponds to meet these goals. This system uses sonar acoustic pulses to gather and track data about the status of aquaculture farming tanks or ponds. The acoustic pulse is sent out and a scattered return signal recaptured. The difference between the initial and returned signals are used to calculate shrimp biomass and even distribution within the pond. The collected data is then transferred to an online portal, giving farmers real-time access to data from anywhere. Knowing the quantity of shrimp is crucial to properly feeding, farming, and growing healthy shrimp.
Developing the system required extensive testing. The company moved shrimp to an experimental tank containing the system in the center. Shrimp of known size and weight were then introduced and data was recorded. Combining the acoustic pulse with image analysis software, the system effectively identified the location of each individual shrimp. They further tracked how the environment changed over time. The sonar system is an effective non-invasive surveillance technique and shows the value of reliably tracking the individual shrimp over time.
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