Dan Maclean at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) has been using a tiny, affordable Raspberry Pi, consumer digital cameras and a ‘kit drone’ to create a DIY crop imaging system.
Using expertise in computing visualisation he has created an open source, customisable remote sensing platform that is already being used by TSL in the laboratory and glasshouse to capture images of healthy and diseased plants.
Healthy plants reflect infrared waves, so detecting this reflection gives a great indication of photosynthetic capacity of plants which is a key influencer of crop yield.
Such DIY technologies have the benefit of being customisable and very low cost, and potentially another tool in the computer-savvy farmer / agronomists’ crop monitoring kit.
As a high throughput research tool the DIY drone is proving very valuable and cost-effective, however it has limitations in the field, where it needs ambient light and weather conditions. It might, however, be applicable in a glasshouse environment.
Dan was presenting at the recent Remote Sensing and Monitoring SIG meeting; a report of the meeting is available to members here.