Google Glass used to Monitor Plant Health

Although no longer in production, one group of scientists have found a novel use for Google Glass; using them to monitor the health of plants.

The research group from the University of California use a custom-developed software application with the Google Glass in order to measure the concentration of chlorophyll in leaves. As well as helping determine the health of a plant, chlorophyll concentration also correlates with many other plant parameters, such as maximum green fluorescence.

To determine the chlorophyll concentration the leaf is first placed into a handheld 3-printed leaf holder, before being illuminated with red then white LED’s. This exposure exploits chlorophyll’s low light absorption in the green part of the visible spectrum. The illuminations are uploaded to their servers for processing and chlorophyll quantification, with the results getting back to the user within 10 seconds.

The currently used method for chlorophyll extraction involves chemical extraction, which is a destructive, complex and time consuming process. This new approach provides a non-destructive solution, which unlike existing portable chlorophyll meters can accurately measure chlorophyll concentration in a single scan. This new method is also very versatile, and can estimate chlorophyll concentration of fifteen different plant species under both indoor and outdoor lighting conditions.

Head of the research group, Aydogan Ozcan, sees the commercial potential in this new method, commenting ‘This Google Glass based chlorophyll measurement platform can display the results in spatiotemporal and tabular forms and would be highly useful for monitoring of plant health in environmental and agriculture related applications’.

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Daniel Di Francesco

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