Spectral Imagery: Beyond What The Eye Sees

by | Jun 18, 2019

Written by Keilah Keiser

How to save harvests and money, and maximize yield with spectral imagery for cannabis.

In this webcast, we hear from Rob McCorkle of Emerald Metrics about how spectral imagery is changing the game for cannabis grow operations. By monitoring plants and providing growers with actionable intelligence, the technology at Emerald Metrics dives into cannabis plant health and other issues which would typically go unseen to the naked eye.

While human intuition is incredibly valuable in cannabis cultivation operations, nothing compares to technology. Emerald Metrics uses spectral imagery for cannabis to detect plant diseases, pests, and environmental contaminants that can wreak havoc on a crop. In addressing issues early on in the growth cycles, their spectral imaging systems offer insights to growers, giving them the competitive edge in a vastly changing industry.

Why is Spectral Imagery Important for Cannabis?

There’s no shortage of obstacles growers face while bringing a crop to harvest, among them being plant anomalies such as powdery mildew, spider mites, molds, and Pythium. Through spectral code, spectral imaging offers growers the ability to detect issues long before the plant manifests them. While Emerald Metrics has brought spectral imaging to Cannabis in the past two years, spectral imaging has long been used in agriculture.  This tried and true technology empowers growers with an easy-to-use technology that is establishing its place within the cannabis industry.

CannaIntelligence™ uses spectral imaging to write algorithms, which in turn writes spectral code to find issues before the human eye can. Once an anomaly is detected, growers can decide which of the 3 C’s they’d like to implement:

  • Contain it
  • Cure it
  • Cull it

Spectral imaging works for both small and large grow operations as it boosts yield and thereby improves the bottom line. Cameras implemented on top of a grow canopy offer a “birds’ eye” view of the crop. By looking down, the cameras can detect problem areas that might not be visible from the first-person point of view or visible to the naked eye.

For example, spectral imaging can detect if an issue arises with water lines or the proper flow of nutrients. Facility overviews can help detect black mold on the walls, problems with water systems, light failures, and external contaminants. Additionally, employee and facility monitoring help identify contamination factors.

When it Comes to Pests

No matter where the grow operation is located, pests will always be an obstacle for any crop. Learning how to eliminate them is one of the many keys to a successful harvest. Through an ever-growing database, Emerald Metrics’ spectral imaging can pick out signature habits of pests. In doing so, the spectral image of the plants changes when it detects pests are feeding.

It also understands the signature of pest activity which occurs underneath the leaves and can detect it through the leaf.  Unknown pest remnants can be picked up by the cameras, and a different algorithm is then created based on the type of pest, making detection easier for the next time around. In other words, Emerald Metrics software can “see” what’s happening under the leaf, not just the top of them.

Emerald Metric Solutions

While extremely user-friendly, many growers want to see spectral imaging in action before they invest in a full package. The starter pack (or clone imager package ) includes one clone imager and two-room imagers, and allows growers the opportunity to try the technology without a significant investment. Before implementing to an entire facility, Emerald Metrics offers four different solutions which can be tailored to the individual grow-op needs:

  1. Clonalyzer Clone Imager: This consists of a clone table, camera, and tablet with clone health analyzing application and all associated software. Basically, it’s a start-up package to get growers going.
  2. CannaIntelligence™ Room Imager: This package is far more robust than the clone imager system and offers monitoring cameras for the mother room, veg room, or flowering room. It comes with a light rail system for full canopy coverage, including 1-100 cameras, depending on the size of the operation and amount of plants. The Room Imager also goes through the cloud, AI, and back to the grower in the form of a dashboard.  Growers may receive notifications when issues are discovered through email, text, even by Robocall if desired.
  3. Clonalyzer/CannaIntelligence™ Starter Pack: Offering the best value to get started, the Starter Pack comes with the Emerald Metrics Clonalyzer and two CannaIntelligence Room Imagers. This package allows growers to get a feel for the full value of the system while keeping their entry level price point low.
  4. Employee and facility assessment This next offering takes spectral imaging a step further to identify contamination factors in and around the facility, whether it’s staffing or an issue with the environment.

Emerald systems help detect issues growers are facing before they build such as finding issues like contamination in dehumidifiers, floors and wall vents, and making sure lights are producing full spectrum.

The beauty about these options offered by Emerald Metrics is that they can be implemented on a large or small scale depending on the grow operation. Growers also benefit from other growers based on past problems. While none of the grow operation data is shared amongst growers, the information goes towards building a database to address issues existing and future crops.

What Does Spectral Imagery Mean for the Future of Cannabis?

Spectral imaging is becoming an incredibly valuable asset in cannabis grow operations because it becomes more about the physical stock and strain analytics of the business. Solutions like Emerald Metrics help provide added protections for growers and investors while increasing yields and boosting profits.

As the U.S. moves towards federal legalization, the demand for investments becomes higher. Being able to give IP strategy, dashboard, and analytics that speak to the product are much more powerful than a grower simply claiming a status of world-class cannabis.

Emerald Metrics is not a replacement to a grower; instead, it’s an augmentation to a grower’s current process. Even in the age of technology, the human eye is critical. Spectral imaging helps growers make the best decisions to support their ongoing processes.

For further information about Emerald Metrics, you can find them at https://www.emeraldmetrics.com/.