Iowa State University researchers have created a new, low-cost, easily produced, graphene-based sensors-on-tape that can be attached to plants to provide data that was previously very hard to collect. This can help farmers to breed plants that are more efficient in using water, for example, but also open new possibilities for creating new sensors for biomedical diagnostics, for checking the structural integrity of buildings, monitoring the environment and, after appropriate modifications, for testing crops for diseases or pesticides.
The tiny graphene sensors that can be taped to plants, and the researchers have dubbed it a “plant tattoo sensor”. The plant sensors have been successfully tested in lab and pilot field experiments. The graphene-on-tape technology in this study has also been used to produce wearable strain and pressure sensors, including sensors built into a “smart glove” that measures hand movements.