UK Researchers Develop LED-based Smart Chamber to Find Growth Recipe for Advanced Indoor Farming Solutions

In order to find out optimized agronomic conditions for different crops to meet demands from the growing indoor farming business, researchers from the UK are developing advanced growth chamber to conduct food production experiments.

Experts from agri-tech company Grobotic Systems, Fraunhofor UK, Stockbridge Technology Center and the University of Sheffield are working together in the Advanced Growth Chamber for the Rapid Optimization of Vertical Farming Systems project. The project aims to provide affordable tools to assess optimum growth conditions for different plants and was awarded GBP 447,000 (US$ 564,650) fund by UK Research & Innovation’s (UKRI) Transforming Food Production Challenge.

Grobotic Systems is a startup company founded in 2018 who develops small and low cost plant growth chambers equipped with color-tunable LED lighting, IoT cameras and sensors. The compact equipment was created to provide researchers and growers an easily accessible tool so that they can monitor and control the growing environment while manage the status and data of the crops.


(Image: Grobotic Systems)

The startup began their cooperation with Fraunhofer UK Center for Applied Photonics to learn the advantages of multi-spectral imaging in the growth chambers. Researchers from Stockbridge Technology Center and Sheffield University also joined the consortium and leveraged their expertise in indoor farming systems and crop phenotyping. Together they created a system to simultaneously and rapidly look at different bands of the spectrum with sensing camera. With the system, the team is able to highlight the wavebands for assessing the plants.

Henry Bookey from Frauhofer UK Center explained, “We’re building a system to meet the requirements in terms of assessing plant health and plant attributes, so that in turn these can be used to predict factors such as quality and flavor.”

The system combines all factors of the growing environment including light color and chemical expression of medicinal compounds in crops to determine the best “recipes” for crops under indoor farming environments.

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