Summary of the Technology
Soil sensors today make it possible to monitor soil and track certain things about the soil that can't be measured by hand easily. The sensors are extremely accurate and give an unparalleled view at what is happening underground. It gives instant information on soil moisture content, salinity, temperature, etc. Soil sensors could tremendously help anyone from a farmer trying to increase his crop yield to researchers seeing how soil retains and off gases such as carbon dioxide. (SoilSensor.com)
Origin / History of the Technology
Soil sensors were invented in 1973 but were not for sale until 1975, they were invented by a German inventor by the name of Charles Matlin. They have been helping farmers monitor their soil so they increase their crop yields for many years now as soil is a vital part of farming. (Charles, M)
Soil Sensors give framers time they didn't have before so they can tend to other key tasks while also increasing their crop yield and in return make more income.
Societal Impact of the Technology
Soil Sensors have been reported to allow farmers spend more time with their family and possibly help their kids with their school work or go out to eat on a Thursday night. That may not seem like a lot but farming is a tough job and checking soil properties by hand is very timely. Its impact on farm family life has been tremendous and as agricultural technology continues to grow so will farmers time with their family.
Ways Soil Sensors are benefitting society: Soil moisture in some areas have a lot to do with the climate in that area. NASA says it is about 10% of earths surface where this correlation is prevalent. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SoilMoisture/
Conclusion / Issues with the Technology
Soil Sensors solved problems that were occurring in the soil, many farmers did not know what was going on under the surface. Soil sensors solved that problem by allowing them to see what the soil properties were to better understand what crops would do better where and etc. Soil sensors though are pretty expensive but the pros outweigh the cons, and many farmers would agree that statement. Most farmers could afford soil sensors but it would be a major investment for the family but eventually it would pay off. In the near future will there be soil sensors that are affordable and give farmers the same results as the expensive ones? (SoilSensor.com)
1) SoilSensor.com. (n.d.). Retrieved December 09, 2016, from http://www.soilsensor.com/soilsensors.aspx
2) NASA. (n.d.). Retrieved December 09, 2016, from http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SoilMoisture/
3) Charles, M. (n.d.). Patent US3882383 - Soil moisture sensing system. Retrieved December 09, 2016, from https://www.google.com/patents/US3882383