New wine industry software could "help feed the world"

Monday, 22 June 2015

A team of University of Adelaide students has won the inaugural Tech eChallenge award for a new software system aimed at saving the wine industry millions of dollars each year – and their work could also be applied to global food production.

The team, called Seer Insights, has developed the GrapeBrain software system, which they hope will improve the efficiency of production in viticulture.

The system captures a greater and more reliable volume of information about grapegrowing and winemaking processes, enabling those in industry to more accurately assess annual yield levels and the resources needed.

“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,” says Seer Insights team member Harry Lucas, 20, who is studying Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide. The other members are Petros Bakopoulos, 21, a Mechanical Engineering and Finance student, and Liam Ellul, 23, who is studying for a double degree in Commerce (Marketing) and Law.

“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,” he says.

The Tech eChallenge competition is run by the University of Adelaide’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) and School of Computer Science in conjunction with Microsoft.

As the inaugural winner of the Tech eChallenge, Seer Insights will receive prizes valued at more than $20,000, including a trip for all three team members to Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, USA. The trip will provide a unique opportunity for the team to pitch its technology to Microsoft executives.

“Seer Insights is to be congratulated for their innovative software project, which is highly relevant to the needs of industry,” says the Director of ECIC, Professor Noel Lindsay.

“The inaugural year of the Tech eChallenge has already proven to be a great success, with a staggering 65 teams entering the first round of the competition. We are pleased to be partnering with Microsoft to foster new technology ideas and new talent, such as in the case of Seer Insights,” Professor Lindsay says.


Contact Details

Harry Lucas
University of Adelaide Mechatronic Engineering student
Team member, Seer Insights
Mobile: +61 (0)406 825 515

Professor Noel Lindsay
Pro Vice-Chancellor Entrepreneurship;
Dean of Business - Adelaide Business School
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7422
Mobile: +61 (0)428 842 024

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762