“Ze He”, Ein Messgerät für Wasserregulierung in dem Kontext von chinesischen Kleinreisbauern

Changyang Yan bei bei Prof. Detlef Rhein (Entwurf) und Prof. Dr. Annika Frye (Theorie)

April / April - 2019

Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel


Ze He (泽禾) is a measuring instrument for the water regulation of Chinese small rice farmers. It can measure soil moisture and water levels and, after extensive analyses of temperature, weather and season, offer farmers an irrigation strategy.

What is the Topic?

The topic is the sustainable method of rice cultivation. In the design process, I investigated the relationship between rice irrigation and the environment. According to my research, the accurate irrigation of rice is not only important for saving water resources, but also for controlling methane emissions caused by traditional irrigation methods. At the same time, according to the current situation of smallholder production in China, it is necessary to develop a water measuring instrument for smallholder rice farmers.

Why does it look like this?

The shape of this product is determined by the following points: 1. Easy to use. The shape should clearly explain how the farmer should use this tool. 2. Direct and clear interaction. The tool should give clear signals to the small farmers so that they can control the water supply exactly. 3. Durability in the field. The tool should be simple and robust to handle the poor outdoor environment.

What is special?

This product is especially suitable for Asian small farmers. The easy installation and maintenance are easily accessible for not well-trained rice farmers. The cost of this tool is also controlled. In addition, the measuring instrument is designed with an extremely simplified signal system for the situation of normal Chinese small farmers. If everything's all right, it'll be green. If the water is too little or too much, the instrument emits yellow flashing light. The more serious the situation, the higher the flashing frequency of the light. However, farmers can judge for themselves whether the rice needs to be watered or drained at this point in time, depending on the weather conditions.

What is new?

1. The tool can not only measure soil moisture and water levels in the rice field but can also provide a clearer irrigation strategy for small farmers, taking into account rice crops and local weather conditions. 2. The modular design allows the product to be continuously updated (networked with mobile phones or other rural equipment) without being lost immediately. Therefore, this tool is both easily accessible for small rice farmers and part of the infrastructure for the future intelligent agricultural system.