Strengthening companies for the requirements of tomorrow

The University's joint project "Cross Innovation Lab NiederRhein" is entering its first active phase with an agricultural focus

The aim of the project, led by Professor Dr. Karsten Nebe, Professor of Usability Engineering and Digital Manufacturing, and Professor Dr.-Ing Rolf Becker, Professor of Physics with a focus on sensor technology and mechatronics, is to improve the innovative ability of companies in the region. The project is mainly based on stimulating regional actors by taking part in the idea generation and implementation processes. The methods will be developed in several stages on the basis of time-limited projects until the end of January 2023.

During its implementation, cross-industry and interdisciplinary cooperation will be in the key focus. "Cross-Innovation means that players from different industries cooperate to strengthen their innovation potential. By exchanging and recombining knowledge, new innovative products, services or even processes can be created and developed," explains Professor Dr. Kathrin Weidner, Professor of Operations and Innovation Management and expert in the project.

The regional partners Mobile Communication Cluster e.V. from Moers and Coduct GmbH from Kamp-Lintfort will play a key role in the technical implementation. Agrobusiness Niederrhein e.V. supports with professional expertise in the field of agrobusiness.

Four innovation projects are now being implemented in the first phase of the project - three at Rhine-Waal and one at Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences:

The "Innovation Management" project will work out and test initial methods to identify and develop innovations during the course of the project.

The second project at Rhine-Waal University is engaged in an IT-supported optimization of various watering applications. Starting with the home garden, it will be investigated how intelligent data analysis and artificial intelligence can be used to water more efficiently and economically. Subsequently, it will be examined whether the knowledge gained can also be transferred to other areas such as field watering.

The third project also focuses on a topic of agricultural use. Ruhr West University is developing a low-cost sensor for the permanent recording of soil moisture in agriculture. This is intended to enable a cost- and resource-saving irrigation of fields.

The fourth project is already at an advanced stage. The so-called "Farm Robot" autonomously carries out weed control in the field. A camera records the environment and analyses by artificial intelligence. A robot arm then moves to the identified weeds and removes them. The "Farm Robot" can be seen in the university's Green FabLab at the Horticultural Show in Kamp-Lintfort until October 18, 2020. In addition, there will be public presentations and professional exchange on October 15 and 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Green FabLab.

"We are very pleased to be able to work on three innovation projects with an agricultural focus in the first run", says Professor Nebe. "The Lower Rhine region is strongly agricultural and horticultural. Together with our partner Argrobusiness Niederrhein e.V., we hope to stimulate new types of cooperation".

All projects are developed with students from both universities and will be implementated in their FabLabs. By the end of the year, illustrative application examples will be created and shared as an open source.

This project is supported from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Projekt Lead XI-Lab NiederRhein
Prof. Dr. Karsten Nebe                      

Projekt Assisstant
Claudia Gerrits van den Ende

Rhine-Waal University
Friedrich-Heinrich-Allee 25
47475 Kamp-Lintfort

For more information visit:


Presenting the "Farm Robot": (f.l.t.r.) Project leader Professor Karsten Nebe, Professor Jutta Wirth, Daniele Ingrassia and Ahmed Abdellatif (research assistants in the Cross Innovation Lab), Omed Abed, project partner of Mobile Communication Cluster e.V.


Christian Spieß