Monday, February 25, 2013

Infrared camera detecting plant health is designed for consumers or scientists

With more people becoming engaged in home growing projects, it’s no surprise we’ve seen numerous consumer technologies that give them help in better understanding their plants. We recently saw Sprout It offer growing tips based on plant type and location, and now Infragram is a modified digital camera that uses infrared filters to detect plant health. Created by the non-profit backed, ‘civic science’ community Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, the camera was originally developed in order to monitor damage caused to plantlife by the BP oil spill in the wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico. Over three years, the community developed a filter system that detects the amount of infrared and regular light in any given area and highlights the regions where there are big differences in the two. Healthy plants absorb light in the visible spectrum, but reflect infrared light, so when a photograph is taken using the filter the bright spots indicate healthy plantlife. The Infragram comes in three forms. Firstly a set of filters, costing USD 10, that enable anyone to turn their camera into an infrared device. Secondly, a USD 35 webcam that can take quick images to instantly analyze on a computer. Lastly, the team want to develop a simple two-megapixel digital camera with the infrared filters built in, offering higher-quality images.

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