Don’t leave me this way! The new “smartwatch for plants” monitors the water content in the leaves and pings the owner when he needs a drink
- A wearable water sensor has been created that detects when plants need a drink
- Experts say it allows remote management of drought stress in gardens and crops
- The system transmits data wirelessly to the smartphone app, which pings the owner
- It is the latest in a series of smart plant devices and pots that monitor their health
It can sometimes be difficult to keep track of whether a plant has had too much or too little water.
Visual signs, such as wilted or browned leaves, do not begin until most of the plant’s water is gone, while yellowing occurs after it is soaked.
To address this difficult dilemma, scientists have created a new “smartwatch for plants,” which monitors the water content in the leaves and beeps the owner when the plant needs to drink.
Similar to how smartwatches track the electrical activity of the wearer’s heart through electrodes found on the skin, the wearable plant sensor can be attached to leaves.
It then transmits the data wirelessly to a smartphone app, allowing the owner to keep an eye on hydration levels.
The new “wearable sensor” for plant leaves is the latest in a series of gadgets claiming to help gardeners monitor the health of their plants, which also include soil sensors connected to smartphones and “smart” self-watering plant pots. “.
Scientists have created a new ‘smartwatch for plants’, which monitors the water content in leaves and beeps the owner when the plant needs a drink.
HOW THIRSTY PLANTS CAN FEEL WATER
According to a study, thirsty plants listen to the gurgling water by detecting tiny vibrations in the ground.
Researchers have found that plants can also sense humming insects and may even be able to hear sounds such as caterpillars chewing and wind hissing through trees.
This may explain why plants are always able to find water in drier climates and suggests they are more knowledgeable about their surroundings than we might think, experts at the University of Western Australia said.
Previously, researchers had developed metal electrodes to monitor water content in leaves, but the electrodes had trouble sticking together, which reduced the accuracy of the data.
Researchers from the Brazilian National Nanotechnology Laboratory, led by Renato Lima, he wanted to identify an electrode design that was reliable for long-term monitoring of plant water stress while remaining stationary.
They created two types of electrodes: one of nickel deposited in a tight, wavy pattern and the other cut from partially burnt paper that has been coated with a waxy film.
When the team applied both electrodes to the peeled soybean leaves with clear tape, the nickel-based electrodes worked better, producing larger signals as the leaves dried.
The metal ones also adhered more strongly to the wind, which the researchers said was likely because the thin, wavy design of the metal film allowed more tape to connect with the surface of the leaf.
Next, the experts created a wearable device for plants with metal electrodes and attached it to a live plant in a greenhouse.
Experts created a plant wearable device with metal electrodes and attached it to a live plant in a greenhouse
Researchers say that monitoring the water content on leaves can also indirectly provide information on exposure to pests and toxins.
Similar to how smartwatches track the electrical activity of the wearer’s heart through electrodes found on the skin, the wearable plant sensor can be attached to leaves
The device shared the data wirelessly with a smartphone app and website, which revealed the percentage of water content lost.
Researchers say that monitoring the water content on leaves can also indirectly provide information on exposure to pests and toxic agents.
Because the wearable device for plants provides reliable data indoors, they now plan to test the devices in outdoor gardens and on crops to determine when plants need to be watered, potentially saving resources and increasing yields.
Details on the new sensor were published in the magazine ACS applied materials and interfaces.
HOW DO THE PLANTS FEEL THE ‘PAIN’?
When an insect bites a plant leaf, the wound triggers the release of calcium.
This triggers a chain reaction in the cells along the leaves and stem of the plant.
It takes about a minute or two for the answer to reach every part of the plant.
Calcium generates a hormonal response from the plant to protect its leaves.
Some plants release harmful chemicals that give other invading insects an unpleasant taste.
Others, such as grass, give off hormones that attract the nearby parasitic wasp, which eats attacking insects.