The proposed technology presents an online repository of 3D models of seeds (with their four-dimensional development/changes in time), based on an extended record of the agricultural species and varieties of the Adriatic – Ionian region. The 4D visualization is enhanced with metadata labels through an integrated database in order to offer novel services of search and retrieval. The framework addresses both the needs of the scientific community (metric tools, seed catalogs etc.) and the interests of the farmers, the food producers and the local gardeners who pursue information about diverse seeds and planting materials.

Technology Description

Two distinct and substantial technological axes are implicated in the development of the 3D semantics-based library; the creation and online visualization of precise replications of seeds and the formulation of a versatile metadata structure. The production of high-quality 3D models is based on 3D scanning and digital photogrammetry techniques for the data acquisition, processing and optimization. The 3D models are stored in an asset database that is linked with specific contextual information. While data are organized and persisted in the context of the website, server-side software facilitates their connectivity with the requested services of the browser.

So, the proposed seed system framework is a heuristic tool for describing and investigating library content of heterogeneous and multidimensional datasets

Main advantages

Existing web-based libraries lack cohesion and the online deployment, both for scientific and general public purposes is deficient in 3D visualization and interactive services. The proposed framework addresses these issues and has functional results favorable to:

  • Conservation of plant generic resources
  • Access and availability of diverse seeds and planting materials according to farmers’ needs
  • Advancement of seed and food sovereignty
  • Promotion of gardening and access to healthy foods.
  • The 4D repository could influence people’s food choices

Stage of development

The methodology has been validated in operational environment and the reliability of the 4D visualization has been verified on an application of similar operational requirements (Technology Readiness Level is 6). The laboratory of Photogrammetry of the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering has implemented such techniques to record small damages and cracks of a Cultural Heritage artefact, while it has also used a structured light system. Our case studies confirm the accuracy of the 3D models and encourage the use of photogrammetry as a reliable and highly accessible tool for the study of seeds and sperms

Challenge and needs

Modern developments, such as the commercialization of agriculture have disincentivized the practice of planting, harvesting and storing. Accompanying the loss of information of original seed is the loss of genetic variability. In conjunction with the concern of genetic modification, seed and gene banks try to deal this problem with recording, storing and lending services. They maintain a collection of seeds that can be borrowed and returned at the of growing season, when the user harvest them from a few from the plants. Commercial seeds suppliers and companies, seed banks/libraries and research laboratories should contribute to form a small-scale version of the online repository with the accurate 3D models and labeling. Its management and further development necessitate testing and evaluation procedures that will be subjected to relevant qualification systems and confirmed by pilot applications

Intellectual property

A prior art search has been planned

Potential markets and targets

The proposed web-based framework will be available to research groups and academia as well as to companies and the public. Regarding a prospective application, the seed project could function similarly to a traditional lending library. It could be associated with an existing public repository and distribute seeds to patrons who, at harvest time, allow some of the plants to go to seed. These seeds will be returned to the library’s collection for use, documented and added to the online recordings. A commercial aspect of the project is the promotion of the companies/suppliers and the endorsement of their seed contributions in the library catalog or the development of a complementary e-commerce platform.

Potential partners

The project concerns agriculturists, biologists and gardening experts that could co-develop this technology. Besides the enmeshed specialists, informatics and computer engineering companies or institutions should be able to offer. Agricultural universities and relative research laboratories and organizations could provide samples and assist in the enrichment of the metadata schema.  It is worth to mention that in Greece the Hellenic Bank of Genetic Material currently has 5.500 – 6000 seeds of different plant species, the “Archipelagos” institute has 1000 varieties from all over the Aegean and the “Peliti” organization has around 4000 seed samples.

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