Cultivated plants consume huge resources: 70% of total water in Spain, 7% of total energy for greenhouses in Netherlands. There are looming concerns over whether such cultivation practices can cope with growing pressures, including environmental concerns. A key challenge of coming decades is introducing disruptive high-throughput technologies to improve plants to enable their parsimonious cultivation.
The goal of the DREAM science-based technology is to reduce the environmental impact of growing plants introducing innovation in lighting, scientific instruments, and data processing, thus promoting the further spread of controlled environments (greenhouses, vertical farms, indoor gardens) for plant production.
The DREAM Vision:
A miniaturized device exploits modulated illumination to record and process the response of reporters of the dynamics of photosynthesis regulation in microalgae or plants. The extracted rich kinetic data are sent to a server, where they are processed with the tools of non-linear system identification and control. Fed by the participative action of multiple end users, the server benefits from kinetic information gathered from a wide range of organisms and environmental conditions. Hence, it can harness the extracted kinetic data for delivering selective categorization of the physiological status as well as modulated illumination for lighting enhancement.
By implementing the DREAM farming protocols, end users (farmers of controlled environments, and on a long-term environmental monitors, farmers, foresters, and gardeners) will reduce their water, nutrients, pesticides, and energy demands and act towards a more sustainable practice. In return to data collected with a miniaturised device and sent to the DREAM server, they will receive plant-specific protocols for selective sensing and optimised lighting. The DREAM server will not only be instrumental to the development of protocols but will also be open to the use for research purposes to Academia and the citizens after the end of the project.