Old-school areas of plant biology are getting tech upgrades that herald more detailed, faster data collection.

January 25, 2017 |by Heidi Ledford, Nature – International Weekly Journal of Science

At Washington State University in Pullman, biological engineer Sindhuja Sankaran’s lab is preparing to deploy drones carrying lidar, the laser equivalent of radar. The system will scan agricultural fields to gather data on plant height and the density of leaves and branches. Sankaran also uses sensors to measure the volatile chemicals that plants give off, particularly when they are under attack from insects or disease. She hopes eventually to mount the sensors on robots.

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