Archive for  January 24th 2018

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AMES, Iowa  —  “So, we’ve developed these graphene-based water sensors at Iowa State University,” said Michael Castellano, a professor of Agronomy at ISU. “They fit on a leaf, put them right on the leaf of a corn plant, and it tells you how much water is leaving the leaf. It gives you the vapor right at the leaf.”

Castellano has equity and managing interests in a start-up company EngeniousAg that sells sensors through an exclusive license from ISU.

“We’re creating wearable plant sensors that actually go on the plant, go into the plant, go into the soil, and go in the environment, as well, to make continuous or instantaneous measurements,” said Castellano.

The sensors are just like wearable human health sensors, but for plants. The sensors are brand new and they’re just becoming available commercially. Castellano says they will revolutionize the world of agriculture.

“This is going to have a tremendous impact on agriculture, because measurements that farmers used to take, mail to service labs, and wait for a week for results, now they can have the results in their hand instantaneously whenever they want,” said Castellano.

It’s all done through a smartphone.

“As you’ll notice, there’s no digital interface on the box the sensors hook up to,” said Castellano. “It hooks up through Bluetooth to your smartphone. Your smartphone has an app and it gives you all the data. It records the data automatically for your future use. You never lose it.”

There are a variety of different sensors that have been developed, and they are not expensive; some cost as little as $1 a piece.

EngeniousAg will have a booth next week at the Iowa Power Farming Show, Tuesday through Thursday, taking orders for the sensors.

IOWA  —  The family of former Slipknot member Paul Gray has reached an out of court settlement over his death.

Gray died of a drug overdose in 2010. Two years later, Polk County prosecutors charged Gray’s doctor with involuntary manslaughter. They said Dr. Daniel Baldi over-prescribed pain medication to the known drug user. None of the drugs Baldi prescribed contributed to Gray’s death, and he was acquitted of all charges.

The civil lawsuit continued, however, and was scheduled to go to trial next week. According to the Des Moines Register, the two sides reached a settlement over the weekend ending the lawsuit. Details of the settlement were not released.