UNSW PhD student Mark Cardamis was previously employed in the home automation industry. He returned to his alumnus in 2021 to work on an industry-led FFSCRC project to develop machine-learning systems that will allow tomorrow’s growers to manage indoor crops from anywhere via smartphone. In 2008, Cardamis completed a Bachelor of Engineering with a Major in Mechatronics (First Class Honours) from UNSW Sydney. Back then, his research focused on control systems. Cardamis was awarded the RS Components Prize for Engineering Excellence for having the best performance in the final year of the Mechatronics program. “An as engineer working in industry for more than 10 years, I developed a creative aptitude for innovation, solving real-world problems in a variety of industries,” Cardamis explains. “Having built a mini greenhouse prototype, I was looking to further develop a cutting-edge IoT system that could be used in smart farming applications.” As part of the project team, Cardamis is exploring new ways to measure crop attributes remotely, investigating scaleable, efficient algorithms that can be deployed in large-scale networked embedded devices on future farms. “My current focus is on exploring mobile sensing solutions, such as radar…to derive the condition of the crop,” he explains. A key reason Cardamis applied for the PhD position on the ‘IoT for indoor cropping’ project was the opportunity it offered for industry collaboration. “Working with an industry partner has added another dimension to the research project,” he says. “There are discussions about commercial opportunities and how to implement your research in the field. With a focus on farmers and what they want, your research feels meaningful.” Dr Wen Hu, an Associate Professor in UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, an expert in embedded sensor and IoT networks, and ‘IoT for indoor cropping’ project lead, is Cardamis’ supervisor. View Cardamis’ feature profile.

PhD student