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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.

FieldScan

The Phenospex FieldScan is a platform for ultra-high-throughput plant phenotyping under field- or semi-field conditions.

A carrier device transports dedicated sensors over the plants or plots and performs measurements 24/7. The platform enables capacities of tens of thousands of plants or plots with throughputs of 5,000 plants or higher per hour. FieldScan is designed to screen big populations used for breeding or research and combines high-precision phenotyping with high throughput. Irrigation units can be added to the carrier device for top-down irrigation with a diverse set of nozzles.

Rail based Sensor Carrier Device

The Central piece of the FieldScan system is the Sensor Carrier Device (SCD). Its main task is to move all sensors and other equipment, such as an irrigation system, to the plants. To provide a simple, yet reliable working system Phenospex took advantage from horticulture experience and made it precise enough for science. Our solutions are scalable and can be later on extended at affordable costs.

Scanning Boom: up to 50m
Rail Length: up to 500m
Moving speed: up to 15 m/min
Scanning speed: 3 m/min

FieldScan Sensor Carrier Device

Throughput and Precision at affordable costs

Automated high-throughput plant phenotyping is mostly limited to controlled environments like greenhouses or climatic chambers where space, and the possibility of expansion, is often limited by finances. But research shows that traits discovered under controlled environments can often be reproduced with only low correlation in in the field; hence, there is a strong need for platforms that allow for the assessment of plants under field conditions directly. Mobile platforms or UAVs have been developed and tested for these applications, but precision and payload has been limited. In addition, the operation of those platforms requires a lot of effort, and automation is challenging.

Our solution to these problems is FieldScan. Using our expertise in horticultural production, we developed a precision carrier device that moves a diverse set of sensors over plants to gather relevant environmental information, according to your needs. The platform can easily achieve throughput of several thousand plants or plots per hour and has been proven to work reliably under harsh conditions, such as those in central India. It can easily be scaled up and extended, it is cost efficient, and it allows for the new dimension of throughput. With FieldScan, we close the gap between the controlled environment and the field.

Sensor-Array

In an uncontrolled setting such as the field it is key to measure the environmental conditions plants are facing. For some parameters it might even be worth to consider local measurements to extrapolate micro climate differences (edge effects) of your field. For that reasons we provide our FieldScan with a sensor network to measure various parameters such as:

Temperature and Relative Humidity

Both temperature and relative humidity are important parameters to normalise measured parameters (e.g. using VPD or Thermal time). Therefore we use a sensor net of probes over the whole platform to get the spatial distribution of temperature and relative humidity in great detail. With that and the known growing location of all plants we can directly transform into thermal time using our R-Plugin.

Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR)

The intensity of radiation needed for the photosynthetic process plays an important role in the development of the phenotype. When integrated in functional plant models and combined with LAI it can represent the available energy for each plant in high detail. As it can be assumed (if no constructions, building or other vegetation shades plants locally) that PAR will be similar over the whole platform we have one central PAR sensor at the environmental Station central.

Wind

Wind speed is an essential parameter that needs to be considered when measuring morphological parameters such as height or leaf area. How strong wind speed will affect your measurements depends not only on the species but also on various other parameters such as treatments or growing phase. As wind speed is similar even on big platforms we measure wind speed in the environmental station central.

Precipitation

Among the platform rainfall sensors can be placed to measure the overall or local precipitation. Equipped with a small funnel they can extrapolate mm water per square meter. They can either be used to measure natural precipitation or to control artificially applied irrigation.

Vadez, V., Kholová, J., Hummel, G., Zhokhavets, U., Gupta, S. K., & Hash, C. T. (2015). LeasyScan: a novel concept combining 3D imaging and lysimetry for high-throughput phenotyping of traits controlling plant water budget. Journal of Experimental Botany. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv251

Kjaer, K., & Ottosen, C.-O. (2015). 3D Laser Triangulation for Plant Phenotyping in Challenging Environments. Sensors, 15(6), 13533.