New research facility for phenotyping

December 21, 2020

The new NPEC research facility specializes in phenotyping. In six different modules - such as a greenhouse or a climate cell - researchers can map the properties of crops. The modules are packed with the most modern techniques, such as hyperspectral cameras and the collected data is made accessible through AR glasses, developed by the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research.

NPEC stands for Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Center. It is an initiative of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Utrecht University (UU) and is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The aim is to screen large numbers of plants for phenotypic characteristics. The NPEC can be used by researchers from WUR and UU, as well as by other universities and companies.

Last year, the first NPEC module was put into use: an open field vehicle with drones in Wageningen. The other five modules will also be opened in Wageningen and Utrecht next year. Each module has its own focus, and they differ in degree of controllability from the environment of the plant and also the measurement technology used. In each module, data about the growth of a crop is extracted using modern camera techniques.

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A great deal of data is collected here, and that data can be clearly visualized through the Augmented Reality glasses of the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research. These glasses, under development in the PPS Augmented Horticulture, show the user the collected information about the crop being viewed at that moment.

In addition, the expertise of the Business Unit in the field of hyperspectral image processing is deployed within NPEC. The Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research also uses the NPEC itself, for example for research into disease symptoms in plants and virtual plant and greenhouse models.

More information about NPEC can be found at  ‚Äč