Want to Conveying Thirst? Plants Have a Gadget


Plants are not able to convey their thirst. Various visual indications such as browning of leaves or shriveling do not appear until a substantial amount or most of the water has evaporated. Hence, researchers have come up with a wearable sensor for plant leaves to detect water loss early on, according to ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. This gadget sends out data wirelessly through a smartphone app, thus enabling remote drought control in crops and gardens.

More advanced wearable gadgets are more than just the basic step counts. Certain smartwatches are now able to supervise the electrical activity of the wearer’s heart by making use of these sensors on the skin. Physicians can both analyze as well as monitor their patients’ health from afar since many gadgets can wirelessly transfer the data they collect.

Invention of Plant Wearable Gadgets to Help Remote Monitoring of Plant Health

Plant-wearable gadgets are expected to help both gardeners and farmers to check on their plants’ health from remote places. They can even check on the water content of leaves, which is a vital indicator of drought stress and metabolism.

Earlier, researchers have developed metal electrodes for checking water content of leaves, however the electrodes had trouble in maintaining connectivity, thereby reducing the accuracy of the data. Renato Lima and his team sought to figure out an electrode design that would be both trustworthy as well as long-lasting for the purpose of long-term plant water stress monitoring.

The researchers made two different types of electrodes. One of them is made from nickel that is put in a squiggly, narrow pattern and the other one is comprised of partly burnt paper that is covered with a wax-like layer. The nickel-based electrodes did much better when the researchers utilized transparent adhesive film to bind both electrodes to detached soybean leaves, giving much stronger signals when the leaves dried.

The metal ones also adhered better in the wind, possibly due to the metallic film’s small squiggly form, which allowed more of the tape to interact with the leaf surface. The metal electrodes were then utilized to create a plant-wearable device that was attached to a real plant in a greenhouse.

Edward Turner

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