STTR Phase I: Precision Plant Irrigation Control Utilizing Leaf Thickness Sensor Technology

STTR Phase I: Precision Plant Irrigation Control Utilizing Leaf Thickness Sensor Technology

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0712605
Agency Tracking Number: 0712605
Amount: $149,988.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
307 Welch Ave, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE, Berthoud, CO, 80512
DUNS: 120462572
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Stoner
 Mr
 (970) 532-3554
 rstoner@aeroponics.com
Business Contact
 Richard Stoner
Title: PhD
Phone: (970) 532-3554
Email: rstoner@aeroponics.com
Research Institution
 Univ of CO Boulder
 Hans-Diter S Seelig
 3100 Marine Street, Room 481, 572 UCB
Boulder, CO, 80309
 (970) 532-3554
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I research project will develop an innovative method that enables reliable feedback for plant irrigation control by direct detection of impending water deficit stress (WDS) in plants. This technology indicates water deficit stress of living plants by measuring the thickness of leaves, which decreases dramatically at the onset of leaf dehydration. The proposed method overcomes the obstacle of traditional methods for determining the thickness of living plant leaves, measuring leaf thickness non-destructively, gently, reliably, conveniently, with high resolution, and in real-time. This novel real-time leaf sensor technology is non-destructive to the plants and can be used on a wide number of species. The proposed leaf sensor can easily be miniaturized and automated without hindering plant cycles. It combines concepts of engineering and plant physiology while employing recent technological advances in electronics and information technologies. Early detection of impending water deficit stress in plants may be used as an input parameter for precision irrigation control, a strategy which has the potential to preserve enormous amounts of precious freshwater while ensuring successful plant cultivation and crop yield optimization. Such a device may find commercial applications in agricultural sectors or the greenhouse industry. The research would develop this novel method into a sensor that is applicable reliably, conveniently, and permanently under field conditions. This research implements this novel real-time leaf sensor-technology into an automated irrigation system as a proof-of-concept demonstration, and evaluates its performance in terms of reliable plant cultivation and its potential for water conservation under realistic farming conditions.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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