July 13, 2021 Our Sci – What’s New This Summer
Summer is our busiest season, as all our agricultural partners are growing abundant crops and our campaigns kick into high gear. We have a ton of announcements we’re excited to share with you. 


At long last, the newest iteration of the Our-Sci Reflectometer is here! This ten wavelength colorimeter is designed to be used in the field or in the lab, with flat samples (like leaves), samples in cuvettes (for lab applications), and loose solids in a glass petri dish (like soils). 

While there are other spectrometers on the market, they tend to either be expensive full-spectrum tools or basic DIY kits – neither of which suits the precise needs of our partners.

A key improvement in this iteration of the device is a re-worked calibration process using a cuvette standard filled with barium sulfate.

This new range calibration improves device consistency, ensuring that your reflectometer remains comparable to other devices and to itself over time. We also incorporated a common standard to improve device-to-device comparability

We’ve reworked our documentation to better answer your questions. 

Read more here >>



New Surveystack features are here and ready to use.

Create Areas in Surveys
You can now create areas, fields or points in SuveyStack! That means you can create fields and even save them to FarmOS, save multiple sample points to a map, and more. And with SurveyStack’s other features, even cutouts and complex geometry are possible.

New and Improved User Tutorial Repository
Now you can see everything SurveyStack is capable of and how to use it, in one easy-to-navigate place. Find it here>>

Dropdowns can reference previous answers!
If you’ve ever crowd-sourced a list, you’ve likely experienced the ‘butter’ ‘Butter’ ‘butter. ‘ ‘buter’ problem. Now you can make dropdowns that reference previously submitted answers…so everyone will see ‘butter’ the first time and your data manager will thank you. 

QR Code reader
No more struggling to type your data on a small screen! Just hit the QR code button and scan the label with your phone for quicker and more accurate entry.

Question Set Library
Don’t reinvent the wheel- find the best way of asking things from others, and share your expertise. The Question Set Library lets you add one or many questions into your survey, and lets you create Question Sets around your area of expertise. The data collected is then available (appropriately anonymized, of course) for everyone, so we can all learn together. 


Lab Processing has Begun

The Our-Sci lab is open and receiving samples. If you’re a partner with crops ready to harvest, send them in! 
Find out more >>

Soil Science Society of America Journal

We’ve published our first ever peer-reviewed paper using the Our-Sci reflectometer! 

Accessible, affordable, fine-scale estimates of soil carbon for sustainable management in sub-Saharan Africa >> 

The Bionutrient Institute

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new website for the Bionutrient Institute. This is the all-new home for the technical and research ends of our project.
See it here >>

Our-Sci In Depth:

Moving from Research to Prediction with SurveyStack: A Day in the Life of a Data Point – with Octavio Duarte
This piece is briefly excerpted from a post on the Our-Sci Blog.
Read the full article here! >>
How do we get from this…
…to this? 
The journey begins when a real-world object, such as a piece of produce, is selected to be evaluated by the Bionutrient Institute. Information about this object comes to us from multiple sources, which we compile using SurveyStack tools.

Surveys are divided into measurements and metadata – moments of data collection within both agricultural and lab processes. 
We continually check the quality of the gathered information using dashboards that give data managers insight into the current state of the process.
One of our main tasks is modelling, which for us involves using accessible techniques to reliably predict information that is otherwise hard or expensive to measure.
As it moves through our pipeline from entry toward analysis, this data point will jump through a bunch of different hoops as we clean out errors and outliers, plot and model our data, and test hypotheses.
The next step in our data point’s journey comes when it’s time to share our findings in the form of dashboards and in-field modeling – where we share the information we’ve gathered back to the community. In turn, insights from diverse user perspectives can enrich our interpretations and questions, giving us better insights and sparking new areas of exploration. 
What’s so unique about this system is its integration – moving from research to prediction in the same platform, following a single data point all the way through.
Thank you for coming with us on this journey! And if you have a question or a new idea to bring to this pipeline, please contact us. We’d love to give it a try. 

Upcoming Events

In partnership with Dan Kittredge,  founder/executive director of BFA and BI/RFC, Our-Sci will be presenting at the 2021 Soil and Nutrition Conference with the following topics. 

What Causes Variation in Quality?

One of the key findings of the Real Food Campaign/Bionutrient Institute has been that there is incredible variation in quality across the food supply chain. How can the BI help farmers and consumers understand this variation?

Predicting Quality on Farms and in Stores

This session will look at how we are building a tool that can objectively predict nutrient density and help move the food supply beyond labels to transparency. 

Partner News

Have you caught up on all the new OpenTeam In-Depth videos released this spring? Watch them here >>
“Drop-in with the MAC team monthly, every first Thursday, for the networking and farmer-to-farmer connections you’ve been asking for. Bring your soil health questions and inspirations. These meetings are for farmers and those who support them.” Find out more>>


New Alpha Release for FarmOS 2.x is now available. 


Organic Center

Share your ideas for their upcoming Hackathon now!

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