LESA is actively engaged in research to fuse plant physiology with control systems engineered for the efficient development of interactive systems for agriculture and horticulture applications. The hydroponic unit and grow room, at the LESA facilities on the RPI campus, provide the infrastructure and environment for spectrally controlled plant experiments. Current focus is on the study of biomass, pigmentation, photochemistry and the other physiological effects plants undergo with specific lighting conditions. The fundamental research includes lighting automation for photosynthetic organisms; integration of advanced plant-fluorescence sensing techniques; tunable and dynamic lighting schemas; and implementing control algorithms for various ambient lighting conditions. With the guidance of renowned plant physiologist, Tessa Pocock, LESA is exploring new applications of enabled systems in horticulture to aid in farming and pharming.
LESA research in Plant Science is focused on optimizing and regulating plant growth through remote sensing of plant signals to automate the spatial, spectral and temporal characteristics of the growth environment. Light is a requirement for photosynthesis and provides information to plants that tell them how to metabolize and develop to maintain photostasis in changing environments. By controlling the light spectrum, plant physiology can be altered to increase growth rates, nutritional value or crop yield, among others.