A device from a Purdue Research Park affiliate that improves safety during agricultural and industrial processes like feeding livestock, loading grain trucks and operating conveyor belts has been recognized as one of the top 50 innovative products developed in 2011.
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) recognized LoadOut Technologies' Yellow Box device as an AE50 2012 winner. Yellow Box allows users to monitor and control processes on their mobile devices in a safe environment away from dust and other hazards. The device alerts users when the process is complete or if something has gone wrong and the process should be stopped.
Neil Mylet founded LoadOut in 2009. Mylet works on his family’s corn and soybean farm in Indiana in addition to leading LoadOut. He has gathered Purdue students and recent graduates from around the world since 2009 to serve as engineers and in other roles for the organization.
The primary physical product that LoadOut has focused on is the Yellow Box device, but it has also developed a number of other software programs and technologies.
“The technology [Yellow Box] is used to actually give people the option to do real-time video of the process, whether it be a truck, rail car or barge. The user can see video [of the grain unloading] and actually turn on and turn off or adapt the state of the industrial motors responsible for feeding the grain,” Mylet said.
The Yellow Box itself is the “brains” of the device and can be mounted any place. The camera portion is mounted in a location where the grain unloading can be visible. LoadOut has produced about eight models of the Yellow Box so far and is still in the process of developing the technology.
"Farmers and other ag professionals always have looked to innovative products to increase production and limit costs. These products can be mechanical, electrical and, yes, high-tech," said Mylet. "Mobile applications like Yellow Box that control automated processes are transforming the way farmers do their jobs, while still serving the fundamental role of improving communication channels. Many more are being developed as farmers find new ways to improve their crops, manage their livestock, tend to their land and feed the planet."
Mylet said he and his colleagues at LoadOut Technologies feel humbled to receive the AE50 award.
"The companies that have received AE50 awards in the past are among the most-respected businesses in the world. The impact they have had on the agriculture industry is phenomenal," he said. "We are honored to be listed among them, and look forward to positively impacting farmers' lives like they have."
LoadOut offers two versions of the product now but is not yet available for major retail distribution. One version, which is comprised of the video-only portion in which a farmer can watch the unloading process from a smartphone, has been sold for $2,000. The second, full version including the control, in which farmers can adapt the motors on their machinery from their smartphones, has been sold for $3,000.
Previous AE50 winners include John Deere, Dickey-john Corp., Trimble and Case IH. The award is sponsored by ASABE's Resource magazine.