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.
Wednesday, November 9th, the inaugural SciTech Northwest event was held in Seattle. This was the region’s first science and technology expo highlighting the latest innovations and collaborations in cyber/data analytics, clean energy, and biotechnology from three premier Washington research institutions. Twenty one groups and five speakers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Washington, and Washington State University showcased their cutting-edge technologies. The featured speaker was Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group.
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GeekWire – Tech investor Matt McIlwain: Seattle with shape the future with a ‘three-layer cake’ of innovation
Growing wine grapes with less water: The study Khot is involved in is an effort to reduce the amount of irrigation water used to grow wine grapes by applying water directly to the roots of a vine in the ground, instead of dripping water on the ground near the trunk. The project is led by WSU professors Pete Jacoby and Sindhuja Sankaran, both affiliate faculty members of CPAAS. » More ...
Feb 2015 | WSU News, by Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – Wheat breeders at Washington State University are sizing up experimental crops from a new perspective: cameras that see far better than the human eye.
Scientists deploy tractor- and cart-mounted multi-spectral cameras to see how new wheat varieties handle challenges like drought, heat and disease. Results will help breeders and growers choose the best varieties.
“For thousands of years, people have been looking at plants in a field and saying, ‘that one grows well,’” said WSU spring wheat breeder Mike Pumphrey. But there’s a lot our eyes can’t see that a new generation of cameras can.
A slight breeze comes from the north, but it’s not enough to stir the sun-faded windsock above the tarmac near Mann Lake in Lewiston, Idaho. The sudden and unexpected gusts of wind, however, do. It’s a brisk 48 degrees, but of more concern is the smeared cloud taking up the southwestern horizon, out of place among its more defined, cumulus neighbors mottling the blue canvas above.
“We have about ten minutes,” says Chris Chaney, who earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from WSU this year. “We’re going to have to time this right. This is probably one of the most dangerous flights we’ve done.”