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Australian university students develop software to help wine producers become more efficicent

Published:  22 June, 2015

Students at the University of Adelaide have developed a new software system that they hope will improve the efficiency of production in viticulture.

The Grape Brain software captures a greater and more reliable volume of information about grapegrowing and winemaking processes than currently possible, enabling winemakers and viticulturalists to more accurately assess annual yield levels and the resources needed.

The system has won the first Tech eChallenge award run by the university in conjunction with Microsoft and part of the prize is for the team members to visit Microsoft headquarters in Seattle to pitch the software to senior executives.

Mechatronic engineering student Harry Lucas said: "Not being able to accurately predict the grape yield from one year to the next is a major and extremely costly issue for the wine industry.

"At the moment we're working with the wine industry and applying this technology to both growers' and winemakers' operations. It could potentially save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

"There is also the potential for our system to be expanded into other industries. It's the kind of technology that could improve global food production, helping to feed the world."

Also in the team, known as Seer Insights, were mechanical engineering and finance student Petros Bakopoulos and Liam Ellul, who is studying marketing and law.

Professor Noel Lindsay, director of the university's Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation & Innovation Centre, said: "Seer Insights are to be congratulated for their innovative software project, which is highly relevant to the needs of industry."