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From Plant Intelligence to Smart Farming: The SyFu System

Image of plants in controlled environment

Project Funded through the CALS Strategic Plan Advancement 2021 Integrated Internal Competitive Grants Program

Project Overview:

This seed project aims to develop an innovative multi-disciplinary technology, a synergistic fusion system of synthetic bio-sensors, called SyFu, that will reliably signal incipient root/stem diseases to the canopy (i.e., above-ground) level, with an easily-detectable readout and data analytics to provide robust feedback to the end-user/farmer. This system addresses an urgent need for enhanced agricultural productivity in the face of a looming food crisis, the result of an exponential decline in per capita arable land around the globe driven by an ever-growing world population, global climate change, soil depletion and degradation, and a diminishing fresh and clean water supply. Our project will harness a novel approach from sensor design to advances in imaging technology and data-driven decision making to enable noninvasive surveillance of plant health, both above and below ground. If successful, SyFu will lift long-standing barriers to the precise prediction, early detection, and effective prevention of crop yield reduction due to pests and disease.

Project Team: 

PI: Bingyu Zhao

CAIA Platform:

External Stakeholder(s) engaged in this project:

We would like to recognize VOLT® Lighting Inc., who donated two sets of LED Grow Lights that will help with our research on manipulating Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) lights to help improve plant health/production under a controlled environment. 

VOLT® Lighting Inc.
15486 N Nebraska Ave,
Lutz, FL 33549


Farm Bot with LED Grow Lights
Bingyu Zhao and Kunru Wang showcasing their FarmBot and the VOLT LED Grow Lights.