During my time at the NYU Abu Dhabi Crop Biomechanics Lab, first as an undergraduate research, and subsequently in a brief stint as product development engineer before leaving to attend graduate school, I participated in the invention, development, and testing of a portable corn stalk strength measurement device. This device makes use of the predictive relationship between stalk strength and stalk stiffness which we identified in our research to allow non-destructive determination of corn stalk strength.
This device allows farmers, breeders, and crop scientists to easily collect data that would inform crop management, crop breeding, as well as basic crop science research. In particular, the ability to predict stalk strength helps address the agronomic problem of stalk lodging — where corn stalks break, causing the plant to fall over. On a macroeconomic level, stalk lodging significantly impacts corn yields; for the individual farmer, the incidence of lodging can mean the difference between a profitable year and financially ruinous year.
NYU is currently pursuing patent protection for this invention.