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A method for automatic segmentation and splitting of hyperspectral images of raspberry plants collected in field conditions

Williams, Dominic, Britten, Avril, McCallum, Susan, Jones, Hamlyn, Aitkenhead, Matt, Karley, Alison, Loades, Ken, Prashar, Ankush, Graham, Julie
Plant methods 2017 v.13 no.1 pp. 74
automatic detection, hyperspectral imagery, image analysis, light intensity, mathematical theory, plant response, raspberries, reflectance
Hyperspectral imaging is a technology that can be used to monitor plant responses to stress. Hyperspectral images have a full spectrum for each pixel in the image, 400–2500 nm in this case, giving detailed information about the spectral reflectance of the plant. Although this technology has been used in laboratory-based controlled lighting conditions for early detection of plant disease, the transfer of such technology to imaging plants in field conditions presents a number of challenges. These include problems caused by varying light levels and difficulties of separating the target plant from its background. Here we present an automated method that has been developed to segment raspberry plants from the background using a selected spectral ratio combined with edge detection. Graph theory was used to minimise a cost function to detect the continuous boundary between uninteresting plants and the area of interest. The method includes automatic detection of a known reflectance tile which was kept constantly within the field of view for all image scans. A method to split images containing rows of multiple raspberry plants into individual plants was also developed. Validation was carried out by comparison of plant height and density measurements with manually scored values. A reasonable correlation was found between these manual scores and measurements taken from the images (r² = 0.75 for plant height). These preliminary steps are an essential requirement before detailed spectral analysis of the plants can be achieved.