Sensor Control and Data Aquisition

Control of cameras, sensors, and other hardware; experiment scheduling

The software package delivered with each LemnaTec system has functions to control the corresponding hardware, i.e. the cameras and sensors, lights, and – if present – any other user-controllable hardware.

With this software module the user controls and sets all functions of the system. For manually operated laboratory systems this is mainly camera and light settings. For large-scale automated systems it includes setting operational workflows for the automation and experiment scheduling. Such operating workflows comprise scheduling and controlling of cameras, scanners, and sensors. They also can include control of moving systems that bring plants to sensors or sensors to plants, as well as controlling weighing-watering-stations delivering liquid to plants. The available functions are tailored to the corresponding hardware. Each hardware system delivered by LemnaTec comes with its own control software that is adapted for the functions of that system.

The software provides graphical user interfaces that enable the settings of the different components. Users can select each adjustable component of the system and the software displays the possible settings. This can be exposure time for cameras, light intensity, or the positioning of a moving part. Once all settings are done, users can combine them to measurement workflows that capture sample data according to the pre-set parameters.

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Example for an user interface to select system components, here in a PhenoAIxpert HTC. The available cameras are displayed in a system overview and users can select each camera. An input field below the system overview allows settings for the currently selected camera and the corresponding light.

Example for an user interface to do camera and light settings in for a multispectral imaging unit in a PhenoAIxpert Pro. Options are given for lights – in the example it is possible to set LEDs in different wavelengths – for the camera’s exposure, and for filters that can be applied in front of the lens. A preview image illustrates the effect of the current settings.

Image and Data Acquisition

For convenient and efficient operation of the LemnaTec systems, the user interface is deliberately kept simple and clean. All relevant functions required for camera and sensor settings, combined required settings for lamps or filters are accessible in the user interface. Users can easily provide sample IDs – using keyboard or barcodes – and optional descriptions that are important for data analysis later. Image and data recording are triggered directly by the user or via pre-defined experimental workflows, which can be pre-set and delivered by LemnaTec, or user defined. The workflows, or measuring procedures, can range from simple patterns of camera and light settings to complex experimental schedules for multiple sensors and automated parts of the system. Data recording workflows can be combined with image and data processing procedures, resulting in one-step procedures for data acquisition and analysis. All recorded images, scans, data, and metadata are systematically stored in file systems or databases.

Regardless which camera or scanner type is used, the LemnaTec software allows image acquisition control. Depending on imaging setup and analysis scope, camera parameters can be adjusted to achieve optimal image quality, and image recording frequency can be set.