Red/near-infrared reflectance sensor system for detecting plants

Kenneth Von Bargen, George E. Meyer, David Mortensen, Steven J. Merritt, David M. Woebbecke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


Growing plants, soil types, and surfaces and residues on a soil surface have distinct natural light reflectances. These reflectance characteristics have been determined using current spectroradiometry technology. Detection of plants is possible based upon the distinct reflectance characteristics of plants, soil, and residues. An optical plant reflectance sensor was developed which utilizes a pair of red and near infrared sensitive photodetectors to measure the radiancy from the plant and soil. Another pair of sensors measures radiancy from a highly radiant reference surface to accommodate varying intensities of the natural light. The ratio of the target and reference radiancies is the target reflectance. Optical filters were used to select the spectral bandwidth sensitivities for the red and NIR photodetectors. The reflectance values were digitized for incorporation into a normalized difference index in order to provide a stronger indication that a live plant is present within the field of view of the sensor. This sensor system was combined with a microcontroller for activating a solenoid controlled spray nozzle on a single unit prototype spot agricultural sprayer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsJames A. DeShazer, George E. Meyer, Boris F. Fyodorov
PublisherPubl by Int Soc for Optical Engineering
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0819410373
StatePublished - 1993
EventOptics in Agriculture and Forestry - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 16 1992Nov 17 1992


OtherOptics in Agriculture and Forestry
CityBoston, MA, USA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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