With the Mint algorithm, the golf course mower becomes smart

The green lawn mower that trims the golf course grass four to five times a week has never been so clever. Thanks to a 4.0 application from the Mint startup, the mower can actually be integrated with a camera and a sensor trained through artificial intelligence to detect and immediately report the presence of any pathogens, such as the “Dollar Spot” fungus. Born in Progetto Manifattura, Trentino Sviluppo’s sustainability hub in Rovereto, Mint has a team of five people and has just started testing its system at Dolomiti Golf Club in Sarnonico, Val di Non.

Davide Corte, Francesca Vecchi, Davide Galetti – Mint [
Archivio Trentino Sviluppo S.p.A. ]

The start-up, born in 2020, aims to reduce waste in the world of agriculture thanks to Industry 4.0. It employs five people – three of whom are not yet thirty – with skills in engineering, IT, electronics and sales.
Their project was born by listening to some friends who are passionate about golf, talk about how basic and at the same time expensive green maintenance is in this sector.
“For an 18-hole course – explains one of the start-up partners, Davide Corte – we are about a million euros a year to be spent on man-hours, fertilizers and chemicals. Specifically, the green, or the last part of the field, must always be in perfect condition to ensure good quality and enjoyment of the game. But its small size means that any diseases spread quickly ».
To try to avoid them, various systems have been used so far: the staff assessment with the naked eye, the periodic examination with a drone, therefore with the presence of an external technician, or the use of data from weather and satellite stations, whichever only allow you to make estimates in the first case or to notice the damage when it is now macroscopic in the second.
“Therefore – continues the co-founder of Mint, Davide Galetti – the idea of ​​developing a solution based on an innovative sensor equipped with a camera with a dedicated electronic card, which sends the images directly to a dedicated platform to be mounted on the machines for mowing However, it is not a normal surveillance camera ‘.
The sensor is actually based on an intelligent algorithm, trained to only recognize and send the frames that detect an anomaly and discard the others.
“In this first phase – says Galetti – we focused in particular on the ‘dollar spot’, one of the most common and annoying leaf diseases for lawns, but our goal is to continue to train the algorithm by collecting as many images as possible so that it is able to recognize different types of parasites ».
The sensors will soon be put into use at Dolomiti Golf Club in Sarnonico, in Val di Non. “Our world,” explains director Luca Borzaga, “especially in terms of organizational aspects, has changed profoundly with the development of technology. Irrigation is centralized, the registration of the position of the machines allows no interference between players and maintenance workers, departures are managed more efficiently. Until now, however, the verification of the green, which is cut about 4-5 times a week, has only been visual. Thanks to this new project in collaboration with Mint, it will take place in a systematic and daily way, giving us quick feedback that allows us to intervene quickly and cut off the spread of pathogens in the bud ».
And while the algorithm trains, chews on new images and digests new data, the Mint team aims to offer its technology to other Italian and foreign golf clubs, but also to green spaces and lawn mower dealers.

Video – Thanks to the start-up Mint, the golf course mower will be smart

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