In Edina, Minnesota, the team at Irrigreen are hard at work developing new innovations in irrigation. Using weather data to calculate its water cycle, their all-digital sprinkler system can precisely regulate the shape of its water flow. Say, for example, that your yard isn’t a perfect rectangle, but looks more like an obtuse polygon. The Irrigreen solution can map the exact area of a yard and water it without overlap or overspray. That means no more watering the pavement which in the end saves water and money.

This summer Irrigreen hired two computer science majors from the University of Minnesota, Eric Heidal and Connor Graves, through the SciTech Internship Program to help strengthen the capabilities of their testing facility.

“Having a test suite puts us above the rest,” said Ryan Daulton, Irrigreen’s head of app and cloud development. “Having these two here to spearhead this department is really helpful. They’re the backbone of our validation testing.”

New horizons in testing
The IoT technology that Heidal and Graves are using is practically untouched, so there’s a lot research and development that’s taking place. This was ideal for Heidal who was initially drawn to this internship for the opportunity to expand his experience working in such an areas with IoT and Java programming.

“Early on we just did simple tests, but now we’re diving into real-world issues that customers are actually experiencing,” Heidal said. “It’s intense. There’s a lot of creativity involved to recreate the errors that our customers find.”

Since the technology is so new, sometimes a sprinkler system will glitch. When this happens, Irrigreen will already know about it through their IoT platform, or the client can notify Irrigreen independently so their testing department can recreate the problem, find a solution and then send it back to the client in perfect working order.

Graves said that he enjoyed getting to speak with clients and appreciated the chance to improve his customer service and his soft skills in addition to the work he did with JavaScript engineering.

“This experience has broadened my horizons and shown me that there’s a lot more to this industry than I thought.” Graves said. “Working here, I never feel like I have nothing to do. There’s good communication and I feel like I’m contributing. ”

“Connor and Eric showed that they were able to learn and adapt quickly,” Daulton said proudly. “They really helped us this summer. Interns like them are valuable members of our team. We plan to go back to the [SciTech] program again and again.”

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