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Aaron Franzen

Aaron Franzen


Assistant Professor

Office Building

Agricultural Engineering



Mailing Address

Ag Engineering 123
Ag & Biosystems Engineering-Box 2120
University Station
Brookings, SD 57007


Dr. Franzen has research and teaching experience and responsibilities, with a focus on electronics, control systems, and new technologies in agriculture.

Prior to SDSU, he was a full-time research engineer at Oklahoma State University for seven years while completing his PhD. In this position, he provided engineering and teaching support for faculty members, gaining exposure to many diverse projects. These include:

- Development of a wireless network to monitor soil moisture/temperature/conductivity,
- Evaluation of sensors for measuring corn plant location and stalk diameter on a by-plant basis,
- Development of an RFID-based controlled access creep feeder to prevent feral hogs from consuming cattle feed,
- Evaluation of Middle Infra-Red sensors for measuring blended gasoline ethanol content,
- Development of X-ray inspection techniques to detect nut quality,
- Evaluation of wireless signal propagation related to data transmission from wireless networks in agricultural fields, and others.

He was also involved in teaching undergraduate and graduate instrumentation courses, as well as assisting with senior capstone design projects for undergraduates.

As a Research Fellow at the University of Florida, he worked on developing technologies to enable robotic harvest of fresh market citrus fruit. His major research areas addressed accessing fruit that is inside the tree canopy and development of a low-cost electrohydraulic robotic arm to harvest individual fruit.

As an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska, he had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for multiple courses in the Biological Systems Engineering department. It was this teaching experience that led him to pursue a PhD so that he could continue to teach at the university level. This experience was rewarding enough that it encouraged him to pursue a PhD in order to teach and conduct research at the university level.


PhD, Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 2015
MS, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, 2007
BS, Agricultural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2003

Specialty Area

  • Precision Agriculture
  • Control Systems
  • Automation
  • Mechatronics
  • Machine Vision / Computer Vision
  • Robotics