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Polariks develops hyperspectral imaging solutions to help wine farmers make better wine, in a more sustainable, eco-friendly and economical way

News

Plant health monitoring using multispectral imaging

Polariks

At Polariks we are currently building a multispectral camera that will continuously monitor plant activity to alert farmers at the earliest stages of diseases. We wanted to tell you more about this technology and how it can convert multispectral data into meaningful insights on plant health status.

Did you know that everybody has its own high tech yet limited spectral sensor?

The human eye is composed of millions photoreceptors but we can only see three different colors: blue, green and red. What if we could see other colors? For example here is how bees see flowers that look yellow to us:

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Bees are able to see light beyond the visible spectrum which helps them to detect nectar.

A multispectral camera works in a similar way: it can see visible light (blue-green-red) in combination with non-visible light (infrared). This can be used to obtain more information on plant activity.

Vegetation reflectance

Our stress monitoring technology is based on the observation that different objects reflect and absorb light in different ways. Stressed and healthy plants have different photosynthetic activity and interact with light in very specific ways.

By looking beyond the visible spectrum, the camera can measure light reflectance variations and identify specific fingerprints of plant stress before they are visible to the human eye.

Vegetation index

By combining the light reflectance measurements it is possible to build NDVI images (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index).

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NDVI provides clear and easy to interpret information on plant vigour. Stressed plants have a lower NDVI value and are represented in yellow/orange shades.

With NDVI, it is possible to quickly identity in-field variability at a given moment. It can also be used to compare images over time to identify significant changes in plant health status.

With these information, farmers can provide an early, local and adapted response. Which will allow them to use less resources, lower their costs, save time and eventually prevent yield losses.

Interested to find out what multispectral imagery can do for your production? Please contact us at info@polariks.com

Spectral imaging for greenhouse crop monitoring

Polariks

As our expertise in spectral imaging is growing, we are able to collect high quality and consistent images from plants. Though the quality and disease monitoring for delicate and high value crops as vineyards remains our main focus, it was a logical step for us to explore other applications as well. So in the end of 2018, we started to use our expertise and knowledge to develop systems that help farmers with upcoming challenges in the intensifying greenhouse horticulture sector. 

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Greenhouses are a great way to produce high quality crops all year round. The perfect growing climate can be created to grow crops in summer-like conditions, even when it is cold and dark outside. Having the ability to control the climate within the greenhouse enables farmers to create the best growing conditions and obtain maximum yield per plant.

Though, these warm and humid climate conditions are also very beneficial for many kinds of insects and fungal diseases. These pests and diseases can cause major damage to crops, where in some cases production eventually stops because all the plants have to be removed to disinfect the greenhouse. The great challenge that comes with crop diseases is that once they are visible to the human eye, you are probably already too late and the infection has already spread.

The current option is too preventively use biological and chemical plant protection products. However, biological treatments become less and less effective and chemical treatments also inhibit the production of the plant itself. Moreover, farmers are being forced to use less and less chemical products by governments and consumers. Therefore it is a constant challenge for greenhouses farmers to prevent these pests and diseases in a sustainable way.

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With our spectral technologies we are able to pick up plant signals that are not visible to the human eye and monitor when plants show the most early stages of stress and decreased photosynthetic activity. This way, we can alert farmers when the infections are still manageable. And allow for a more local treatment of the disease. Saving time, costs and resources and eventually prevent major potential yield losses.

With the help of REWIN West-Brabant, Stuurgroep LIB, Proefcentrum Hoogstraaten and a pool of innovative growers we have set out a mission to develop a monitoring system for strawberry plants. The strawberry industry is of great importance to the province of Noord-Brabant as almost 80% of all Dutch grown strawberries are produced in this region.

Currently we are doing field tests at growers and research facilities to validate the technology and to push the boundaries of how soon we can detect plant stress in strawberries. The first results are very promising.

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Do you want to learn more about our innovative monitoring technology and see what we can do for you production? Contact us at info@polariks.com

Whitepaper hyperspectral remote sensing

Polariks

A novel technology for crop monitoring. How does it work? And what are the benefits?

Hyperspectral remote sensing is the latest advancement in crop monitoring and precision agriculture. It allows farmers to ‘see’ in their crops and gives them the knowledge what the conditions of their crops are, what biological processes are occurring and what actions are need to be made before going into their fields. But before going in-depth on hyperspectral remote sensing. What is remote sensing in the first place?

What is Remote sensing?

Remote sensing can be best described as: “The science and art of obtaining information about an object, area, or phenomenon through the analysis of data acquired by a device that is not in contact with it.”

Its applications dates back to world war 1, when it was crucial to know what happened behind enemy lines, how cities and infrastructure looked like and where strategic places were localized. This information was acquired by attaching cameras to homing pigeons, which were already used to convey written messages. From these images, soldiers could get valuable information about the ground situation and to know the best timing to succeed in their missions.

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Nowadays, the ‘pigeon-technology’ has improved immensely. Our vehicles of sensing technologies are: satellites, airplanes, drones, robotics, hand-held devices and sensor technologies. Each having its own benefits. A satellite or airplane can cover a large area quickly, but with little intervals, low resolution and little detailed information. Information from satellites or airplanes remains therefore sample based and is little actionable. A robot or sensor however, can gather specific and very relevant information about an object with many intervals, but it is mostly stationary or covers small areas.

Also, we do not have to solely rely on 2D images anymore. New technologies are still being developed to gather more information of an object remotely. One of these major advancements is the commercial use of spectroscopy. Spectroscopy allows the user to measure the energy of a specific wavelength (color) within the electromagnetic spectrum that is emitted, absorbed, or scattered by an object at one single point. These spectral signals can give information about a property or feature of an object.

 

What is Hyperspectral imagery?

Normal cameras can see 3 bands of colors within the visible spectrum: red, green and blue. Instead of just these three colors, hyperspectral imagery uses specially engineered sensors that measure the entire spectrum of light in the visible, but moreover also in the non to human visible spectrum for each pixel in an image. The entire spectrum is then divided into 100+ color bands.

Each band is analyzed and used to make a multi-spectral colored dataset in the shape of a cube that contains three dimensions of information about a subject: 2 dimensions of spatial information and a 3rd dimension of spectral information. By analyzing all colors of the spectrum in each pixel, we can obtain the unique spectral ‘fingerprint’ of an object. These fingerprints deliver very detailed information about the state and constitution of the imaged object.

There a multiple applications of hyperspectral imagery in many different industries such as: Image guided surgery, mineralogy, optical sorting, food quality inspection and forest monitoring. Still, agriculture and precision agriculture is the largest sector for hyperspectral imagery where most of the developments are being made.

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What are the benefits?

Especially in agriculture, most of the inspection relies on human inspection. As mentioned, the human eye can only see a small portion of visible spectrum. There is thus a clear limit to what we as humans can view in the world around us. For us humans two leaves can look identically green. But when using hyperspectral imagery we obtain more information in the non-visible spectrum which allows us to still distinguish between these two leaves on their properties.

Moreover, things as plant stress as nutrient deficiency and diseases become visible to the human eye when the damage is already done. Using hyperspectral imagery, the spectral specific fingerprints of plant stress become visible in the most early stages. This allows farmers to be more efficient with resources, achieve higher yield and prevent crop losses and ultimately reduce their environmental footprint.

At Polariks, we are specialized in high resolution hyperspectral remote sensing and continuous crop monitoring. Interested to find out what potential hyperspectral imagery has for your organization? Please contact us at info@polariks.com.

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