Iowa State Researchers Honored for One of Year's Best Ag Engineering Innovations

AMES, Iowa – A start-up company founded by two Iowa State University researchers is receiving a national honor for an invention named one of 2019’s best innovations in agricultural, food and biological engineering and technology.

Manjit Misra and Yuh-Yuan Shyy of ISU’s Seed Science Center will receive the award this week for their company, FloMetrix, from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers at the organization’s Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Each year the organization honors the “AE50,” which represent the best innovations in engineering and technology for agricultural, food and biological systems.

Misra and Shyy founded FloMetrix in 2011 and developed a proprietary technology that can measure the flow of bulk materials such as seeds, grains, fertilizers, food and pet food ingredients in real time as they move through an inclined pipeline. The invention is called the Real Time In-Line Inclined Flowmeter, or RIIF.

“It is easier to measure flow when a product is falling vertically, but at an incline, the product slides, making it harder to measure,” said Misra, director of the Seed Science Center and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

“That is where our innovation comes in. We recognized there was a technology gap and developed a solution,” said Misra. “The real-world applications are for loading trucks, blending seeds, feeding livestock and other uses. It can assess in real time the amount of product being loaded straight into a truck. This can cut loading time by more than half and reduce the potential for fines for overweight trucks.

"When producers load trucks, they go to a platform scale. If it is underloaded, they go back and fill some more. If it is overloaded, they have to take some out,” said Misra. “That causes businesses to lose time and money. With the real-time flowmeter, you simply shut it off when you have exactly enough.”

“Through our work in the Seed Science Center, we learn about problems directly from farmers and seed producers, analyze those problems and try to figure out a solution,” said Shyy, senior engineer at the center. “It is a way for ISU to help the people and businesses of Iowa and the world."

A grant from the Iowa State University Regents Innovation Fund is supporting commercialization of Flowmetrix's solution.

Companies from around the world submit entries to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ annual AE50 competition that emphasizes the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace. Up to 50 of the best products are chosen by a panel of international engineering experts. The award-winning products are highlighted in a special issue of the society’s Resource magazine. The top 10 winners are eligible for the prestigious annual Davidson Prize, an innovation award named for J.B. Davidson, the father of modern agricultural engineering, who organized the world’s first agricultural engineering department at Iowa State University in 1905.

About the Seed Science Center 
The Seed Science Center at Iowa State University is a center of excellence nationally and internationally in seed research, education, technology transfer and international seed programs.

About the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department
Since 1905, the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at Iowa State University has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department earned first and second in its category for undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively, in US News and World Report’s 2017 national “Best Colleges” rankings. 

About the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems. ASABE includes members from more than 100 countries. The organization’s annual AE50 awards recognize machines, systems, components, software and services ranked highest in innovation, significant engineering advancement and impact for the markets they serve.


Manjit Misra, Seed Science Center, 515-294-6821,
Yuh Yuan Shyy, Seed Science Center, 515-294-9405,
Cynthia Hicks, Seed Science Center, 515-296-5386,