Agriculture!

Lasers and imaging sensors mounted on planes, fluorescence spectroscopy, lidar, and energy efficient LEDs are just some of the latest farming and food processing tools in the emerging field of optical farming or agri-photonics.

We all know that Photonics is simply defined as "science and applications of light" and therefore it is one of key technology enablers in many applications. Photonics in agriculture is not an emerging new application and most of the time we are unaware of it. Photonics technologies are helping farmers for food processors, and famine-plagued areas of the world. Lasers and imaging sensors mounted on planes. Fluorescence spectroscopy, lidar, and energy efficient LEDs are just some of the latest farming and food processing tools in the emerging field of optical farming or agri-photonics.

From our knowledge about the photosynthesis process, and the miniaturization of laser diodes, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and photodetectors, selected wavelength light sources and the associated photodetectors can be used to find weeds to control the growth rate of plants and to inspect the teat. Moving the wavelength light toward near infrared and infrared spectra leads to the analysis of fruit quality, soil nutrient contents and heat stress management for poultry and viticulture

SMART MOBILE DEVICE-BASED TOOLS

By realizing that the smart mobile device is actually a notebook computer equipped with additional sensors and communication components, it would be highly desirable if we could extend its functionality for agriculture.

Sericulture

A digital microscope is an important tool in agriculture. It can be used to look for small pests and observe symptom of some plant diseases. Specifically designed lens module that can be placed in front of any cell phone or tablet in order to convert it into a digital microscope. Our lens module contains a molded 4-mm focal-length plastic convex lens located at the center of a transparent plate. With this simple tool, a small pest moving inside an orchid can be easily observed and the density of leaf stomata can be analyzed.

Brightness Analyzer

We can use either the image sensor or the light sensor of the smart mobile device to monitor the brightness of the light radiating on plants. We have developed an algorithm for analyzing the illumination level via the image sensor, featuring 0-1500 lux. There are also free application programs utilizing the light sensor which provides higher dynamic range than the image sensor of the digital camera.

Nitrogen Estimator

Instead of using an expensive SPAD to analyze the chlorophyll of plant leaves and then estimating the needed fertilizer levels, we can snap the image of the leaf and then analyze its color by using application program called "BaiKhaoNK". Once the color of the rice leaf is analyzed, the estimated amount of fertilizer is introduced on the display. "BaiKhaoNK" application program is designed to operate under Android operating systems as the users can easily find a variety of suitable smart mobile devices.

Colorimeter for monitoring chlorine concentration in water

With the same principle in the analysis of the object color, we apply our proprietary algorithm and key idea to analyze the color level of the solution. Mobile device-based colorimeter for estimating the chlorine concentration in water. This mobile app is designed to work in conjunction with widely used chemical indicators such as potassium iodine solution and o-tolidine. Its current performance shows high potential in determining chlorine concentrations in 0-2.0 ppm.

Ripeness estimator for green fruits

In today precision agriculture, the estimation of the ripeness level on any part of the fruit is necessary, leading to effective yield and logistics management. With our proprietary algorithm, we can spatially and specifically classify the green fruit into three ripeness levels: immature, ripe, and overripe.

We have presented few uses of photonic systems that have been developed. All these examples indicate that photonics has an immense potential which is still largely unused. Advances in the making of better, healthier and low-cost efficient agriculture.