"It's like watching a plant grow" was set to become the botanical research community's version of "It's like watching cement harden" — that is, until researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a robotic camera to watch the plants for them, reports Popular Science's Rebecca Boyle. Plant physiologist Edgar Spalding created a "2,300-pound, 6-foot-high robotic camera rig snaps pictures every 30 seconds, capturing the curling, twisting motion of germinating seeds putting out new roots," she says. Observing plants develop with these new cameras can help researchers determine the differences between genetically modified and wild-type specimens, particularly by how the roots develop, Boyle says, adding that Spalding and his colleagues hope their research could help investigators genetically engineer crops with desirable features.
Keeping an Eye on the Plants
Feb 16, 2012