Petiole launches smartphone camera app to measure leaf areas


PetioleLeaves give good insights into the health and vigour of a crop and so the ability to measure leaf area quickly and effectively is important to agricultural scientists, breeders, ecologists and chemists. Early-stage company Petiole has developed a way to use the camera on a mobile phone to provide a cheap, fast, accurate measure of leaf area.

Dr Maryna Kuzmenko, CEO of Petiole, explains: “Leaf area is an important variable in agriculture and ecology studies where it is used to calculate light interception, evapotranspiration, nutrient uptake, irrigation response and plant growth.

“However the current methods are time-consuming, expensive and have limited capacities, so Petiole was developed to offer an alternative. It is a mobile app that measures leaf area with a smartphone camera.

“Andrii Seleznov, now Petiole CTO, developed the idea after hearing about the limitations of the existing systems from his friend and ecologist Viacheslav Bykov. Bykov was sampling poplar leaves as part of his project for the Institute of Evolutionary Ecology at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Petiole in the field“In particular he found the low memory store, the lack of data synchronization, the weight and the glaring LCD display made the products inconvenient when working for long periods in field conditions.

“To help his friend, Andrii developed a mobile app that uses a smartphone camera to provide precise measurements, of unlimited samples in a short period of time.”

The application uses a Computer Vision algorithm that accurately measures leaf area in less than in a second. Petiole is a good fit for obtaining ground data to support application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) methods or satellite imagery.

It can be used everywhere and is applicable to a wide variety of crops and plants and is non-destructive. The accuracy has been tested and proved by real experiments in the laboratories of the four leading educational institutions in Ukraine.

Dr Kuzmenko says: “We hope that participation in the REAP Start-Up Showcase will raise our profile with people struggling with problem of ineffective leaf area measurement and they will find that Petiole is the ideal solution for their needs.”

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