PhotosynQ

Lead Organization:

Michigan State University

Community of Practice:

Cross-Cutting

Countries:

Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Niger, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mali, and Peru

Duration:

8/2014—8/2016

Overview:

The PhotoSynQ community “is creating an open source, global dataset of plant-related measurements” (photosynq.org). Established by the Kramer Lab at Michigan State University, the PhotoSynQ team is developing an open-source platform for data sharing based on the use of low-cost, Web-linked sensors.  Sets of sensors that can measure traits of relevance to seeds, plants and soils are built into a hand-held device called the MultiSpeQ (http://blog.photosynq.org/).  Data can be shared via a Web interface.  The platform allow users to design experiments; measure plant, soil and grain phenotypes to contribute to their own experiments and others’; share data using an app; and analyze data on a shared, Web-based platform to draw conclusions from participatory datasets.  The project team will initially include hardware and software engineers and researchers in the USA and Malawi, and an NGO in Malawi. 

Grant Aims:

MultiSpeQ system validated in initial lab experiments conducted at MSU.  Past studies have involved work on Arabodopsis, a “model” plant; this preliminary work will be expanded to include legumes (common bean; soybean) and cereals (maize, barley).  The team will endeavor to determine whether certain parameters correlate with effects on yield under drought stress.The system will be further tested for applications related to soil and grain health, with likely success.The grant would cover the fabrication and sharing of 68 units of the MultiSpeQ device.  The budget also includes the purchase of 300 units of a single-use tool for measuring CO2, to validate the new device against a current standard.Field testing in Malawi to determine feasibility of use in contexts of relevance to CCRP and beyond.Farmer-friendly tools available for measurement, data sharing and analysis.