Compliant plant wearables for localized microclimate and plant growth monitoring

Joanna M. Nassar, Sherjeel Khan, Diego Rosas Villalva, Maha M. Nour, Amani Saleh Saad Almislem, Muhammad Mustafa Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The microclimate surrounding a plant has major effect on its health and photosynthesis process, where certain plants struggle in suboptimal environmental conditions and unbalanced levels of humidity and temperature. The ability to remotely track and correlate the effect of local environmental conditions on the healthy growth of plants can have great impact for increasing survival rate of plants and augmenting agriculture output. This necessitates the widespread distribution of lightweight sensory devices on the surface of each plant. Using flexible and biocompatible materials coupled with a smart compact design for a low power and lightweight system, we develop widely deployed, autonomous, and compliant wearables for plants. The demonstrated wearables integrate temperature, humidity and strain sensors, and can be intimately deployed on the soft surface of any plant to remotely and continuously evaluate optimal growth settings. This is enabled through simultaneous detection of environmental conditions while quantitatively tracking the growth rate (viz. elongation). Finally, we establish a nature-inspired origami-assembled 3D-printed “PlantCopter”, used as a launching platform for our plant wearable to enable widespread microclimate monitoring in large fields.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Journalnpj Flexible Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2015-Sensors-2707, OSR-2016-KKI-2880
Acknowledgements: We thank Professor Mark Tester and his lab members from the Salt Lab and Plant Sciences Program in the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) division at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), for their contribution to grow Barley plants for this project. This publication is based on the work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. Sensor Innovation Initiative OSR-2015-Sensors-2707 and KAUST-KFUPM Special Initiative OSR-2016-KKI-2880.


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