Associate Professor, University of Colorado
Dr Whiting is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering Program at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is the Principal Investigator for the Boulder Experimental Electronics and Manufacturing (BEEM) Laboratory. His research is focused at the intersection of additive manufacturing, novel materials, and functional devices. The BEEM Lab uses printing as a method to fabricate unconventional electronic components and systems including those are that can be readily customized, mechanically flexible/conformable, large area, widely distributed, biocompatible, and biodegradable. These devices can find application in a range of areas, with a current focus on developing sensing devices designed for integration into the environment (for example in soil and plants), to optimize agricultural inputs, and to enhance soil carbon and nitrogen stocks. Prior to joining the University of Colorado in 2017 Dr Whiting spent 10 years working in industrial research for Cambridge Display Technology, Xerox PARC, and Google[X]. He received a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2007 and a BS from the University of California Berkeley in 2002.
Printed sensors for monitoring soil and plant conditions
High spatial density monitoring of the environment is essential for improving the understanding and management of natural systems. This is of particular importance in soils, where sensing can enable optimization of agricultural inputs, improved crop yields, increased carbon/nitrogen storage, and enhanced soil health. Print-based manufacturing of electronic systems enables the fabrication of large numbers of unconventional devices that utilize a wide range of materials that are compatible with natural environments, enabling the capture of useful, high-density information in these environments. This talk will describe recent progress in our lab on the study of printed electronic devices and systems for real-time monitoring of soil and plant conditions, with a focus on two specific sensor types. The first is a microbial activity sensor that utilizes biodegradable materials to monitor the decomposition activity of soil. The second is an ion-selective organic electrochemical transistor for evaluating nutrient concentrations that can be used in growth media and whole plant sap, as well as directly within plant tissue as an implant.