On Friday, 1 October 2021, a group of eight upper-grade students from the Elementary School Eugen Kvaternik in Velika Gorica visited the LARICS lab accompanied by their informatics teacher Dalija Kager.
The students had the opportunity to see LARICS’ labs, 3D printers in action, and various robotic equipment such as the Schunk robotic arm currently used for installing power line separators in the AERIAL-CORE project.
The main reason for their visit, however, was to learn about how we can measure the well-being of plants and use that information to model our surroundings – a goal we are actively pursuing as a part of the WATCHPLANT project. The students learned about various types of sensors we use for that purpose and got to observe the changes in measured values in real time as they interacted with the plants. They also helped us to water the plants properly using a soil humidity sensor. The children and even their teacher had a lot of interesting questions about the project and our lab, and they were excited to share their own experience with microcontrollers and programming with us.
On 23 September 2021, the TV show “Prometej” aired on Croatian National Television (HRT) showing several interesting reports of scientific news in Croatia, including a report about the WATCHPLANT project. LARICS members prof. Stjepan Bogdan, Dean Martinović, Ph.D., Marijana Peti, and Marko Križmančić presented the goals of the project, its importance for the general public, and the current progress of the research.
They also talked about the most interesting parts of the project, such as the development of sensors, establishing a communication network between devices, and the novel idea of extracting energy from plants’ sap flow.
A European venture of scientists, technology developers and companies have just started to research on how electricity and relevant information of the environment can be obtained from sap in plants thanks to an experimental and radically innovative technology. The new device will be innocuous for the plant and will have a direct application for the development of environmental monitoring sensors in urban, agricultural and forest areas.