FAU I-SENSE and K-Rain Team Up on Water Irrigation

water irrigation, lawns, sprinkler systems, environment, water management

By gisele galoustian | 10/15/2018

The average American family uses 320 gallons of water a day – about 30 percent is devoted to outdoor use. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Since only 1 percent of the Earth’s water can be used by humans, advancing irrigation products is essential to conserve this limited and valuable resource.

Florida Atlantic University’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), one of the university’s four research pillars focused on institutional strengths, and Riviera Beach-based K-Rain, have teamed up on an innovative university-industry partnership to take water irrigation solutions to the next level.

FAU I-SENSE and K-Rain, a third generation privately-held company, have entered into a three-phase partnership to work on intelligent irrigation components that will be sold throughout major distribution channels. FAU I-SENSE is a leader in the design and application of low-cost, low-power telemetry platforms and networked sensor systems.

K-Rain is the fourth largest manufacturer of irrigation products in the world and an industry leader in developing rotor and nozzle engineering. The company manufactures a full line of commercial, residential and municipal sprinkler systems, rotors, sprinklers, sprays, valves and irrigation controllers.

“We are very excited to partner with Florida Atlantic University and to leverage the expertise of I-SENSE scientists and engineers to develop next-generation products for our company that will enhance how commercial, municipal and residential entities control and manage their irrigation systems,” said Chip Kah, president of K-Rain. “Since 1974, our company has been dedicated to implementing novel technologies to enhance efficiency, conserve water and energy, and reduce environmental impacts.” 

FAU I-SENSE serves as a clearinghouse for sensing, communication, and data management technologies, providing expertise, engineering support, and project management services through its research, engineering and administrative cores. Sensing and smart systems span hardware and software layers, and require low-level embedded device design, wireless infrastructure design, middleware design, cloud design, algorithm design, and web application design.

“We are extremely proud to be a trusted partner to an outstanding company like K-Rain,” said Jason O. Hallstrom, Ph.D., director of FAU I-SENSE. “Our team at I-SENSE and throughout the university are connecting and responding to the needs of local businesses and industries at the ground level. The technology we are developing for K-Rain has the potential to make an enormous positive impact and contribution in South Florida as well as worldwide.”  

According to a study by NASA scientists and collaborators in California, there are more than 63,000 square miles of lawns in America – about the size of Texas. American lawns now cover an area three times larger than any irrigated crop in the United States.

“This newest partnership between FAU I-SENSE and K-Rain will greatly contribute to advancing innovation, technology, and successful business development in this region,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU’s vice president for research. “We are especially grateful to Kelly Smallridge and the Palm Beach County Business Development Board for their vital role in connecting K-Rain with Florida Atlantic University, which has resulted in a very productive and fruitful relationship.”