Leaf sensors show promise in managing water use

0
775

In Pennsylvania, plant-based sensors that measure the thickness and electrical capacitance of leaves show great promise for telling farmers when to activate their irrigation systems, preventing both water waste and parched plants, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

For this study, lead researcher Amin Afzal, a doctoral degree candidate in plant science, integrated into a leaf sensor the capability to simultaneously measure leaf thickness and leaf electrical capacitance, which has never been done before.

The study continues Afzal’s research to develop a system in which leaf clip sensors will send precise information about plant moisture to a central unit in a field, which then communicates in real time with an irrigation system to water the crop. He envisions an arrangement in which the sensors, central unit and irrigation system all will communicate without wires, and the sensors can be powered wirelessly with batteries or solar cells.