Virtual agriculture: cutting-edge tech for MCAST students displayed at AgriFair

MCAST’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre and agriculture students teamed up to create a cutting-edge technological system, to showcase the field and farm experience to visitors through the use of virtual reality

The Malta College for Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) participated in the AgriFair 2022, held at Malta Fairs and Convention Centre where students from MCAST’s Centre of Agriculture, Aquatics and Animal Sciences (CAAS) showcased and explained their work to visitors during this event.

These included their studies on growing fresh agricultural products and a demonstration about beekeeping and honey making.

“This initiative provided MCAST students, with a chance to exhibit their work and explain to visitors the importance of the agricultural sector to the whole community,” said Malcolm Borg, Deputy Director at the CAAS.

MCAST students with CAAS deputy director Malcolm Borg (second from right)
MCAST students with CAAS deputy director Malcolm Borg (second from right)

Members from the CAAS and the MCAST’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) also teamed up to create a cutting-edge technological system, to showcase the field and farm experience to visitors through the use of virtual reality.

The whole project, which took two months to complete, included the capturing of real-life agricultural experiences in diverse locations. These real-life experiences were then technologically adapted to create an immersive experience for users to cherish.

“In the future, technologies of this type will be customised and used during lectures on campus, since they will allow students to grasp knowledge in an innovative manner while creating an engaging experience in the classroom,” Dr Ing. Clifford De Raffaele, ARIC director said. “Through our innovation drive, we are constantly seeking to integrate novel and state-of-the-art technologies to provide our students with the best educational experience through EdTech at MCAST.”

Research done by Steve Zerafa, senior lecturer at MCAST’s Institute of Engineering and Transport (IET) on an automatic hydration system was also showcased.

This industry-advanced system automatically captures data from satellite images and based on the climate the machine produces the right doses of nutrients and water for agricultural practices.