DECODE takes advantage of the sensitive reaction of plants to external and environmental factors and is able to capture and translate these signals. DECODE is an electronic device to capture electronic signals from plants connected to an IoT platform for plant-based biosensors. It enables users to choose and connect to a plant - pick the signal they are interested in (let’s say a fungi infection) and output how they want to be informed about it (let’s say it calls you when it is infected).

Plants are incredible organisms! Plants are constantly communicating with their environment, each other and within themselves. They can not move; therefore, they must continually adapt and react to their surroundings to survive. One way how they are doing this is through electrochemical signals. What is caused by ion fluxes in the cell. Ion channels open in response to environmental stimuli and depolarize the membrane. All plants generate long-distance electrical signals, which are there for communication and integration of responses in different tissues and organs of the plant.

Decode is capturing those electrical signals with an electronics deceive similar to how we capture our own biosignals. The fascinating part is that we could identify patterns distinct to different abiotic and biotic stress.

This led to the idea of mapping these patterns to different environmental causes and finding a way to be able to translate and understand them. This can lead to applications in agriculture to inform when a plant is infested and to use them as biosensors.

In collaboration
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Royal College of Art