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Simple, Affordable Near-Infrared Camera Captures Secret Life of Plants

In the hands of activists, farmers, students and hobby scientists, a cheap infrared camera can enable better assessments of landscapes and fields, from the leaf to the lot to the field.

Originally developed to assess damage to wetlands after the BP oil spill, a new project from Public Lab is now developing a simple open-source hardware and software tool for taking near-infrared images that can be used to monitor plant health, document environmental damage, or study the progress of environmental restoration projects.

The Infragram project, now in a crowdfunding phase, aims to bring near-infrared imagery to the hands of the public, enabling a whole new era of open-source and citizen-generated data collection.

Simple, Affordable Near-Infrared Camera Captures Secret Life of Plants

While near-infrared photography is already used for assessments of agricultural and ecological impacts, including on large farms, vineyards, and natural areas, it’s been the province of scientists and researchers and planners, not the average person on the street. But with the launch of Infragram, an investment of as little as $35 will put this simple, yet powerful, tool in the hands of citizen scientists and the plant-curious.

Simple, Affordable Near-Infrared Camera Captures Secret Life of Plants

“Infragram allows average people to monitor their environment through verifiable, quantifiable, citizen-generated data. Just as photography was instrumental to the rise of credible print journalism, inexpensive, open-source data-collection technologies democratize and improve reporting about environmental impacts.” – Public Lab

Find out more at the Kickstarter campaign page (the project still has 38 days to go and has already surpassed its goal), or at Public Lab.

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