Device for taking pictures of the treetops

Summary of the technology

Researchers at the University of Alcalá present a novel device that allows non-destructive sampling of treetops from the ground toquantifythedamage caused by biotic agents (pests) and abiotic (storms, hail, torrential rains) ortocontrol production of fruits, without the need for artificial means of elevating the operator, reducing the risk to the observer and to the health of the tree itself.The research group seeks to achieve commercial or licensing agreements with companies inthe forestry sector (wood, cork, ...), agriculturesectoror agricultural insurers.

Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Details of the Technology Offer


Observation of tree crowns is necessary to quantify the production of organs (leaves, flowers, fruits,seeds, buds, branches, etc.),which is relevant in both agroforestry and forestry studies and insciencebasicstudies. Direct observation techniques are also used for the quantification of damagescaused atanindividual level,by pests or adverse atmospheric agents.This is especially important for the insurers' assessment of the damages caused in agriculture orforthe application of phytosanitary treatments.The device consists of an extendable pole to which a horizontal platform with a transverserectangular frame is anchored at one end, and a movable metal plate with an imaging device,at theother.

The device is operated from the ground and allows the angle of the platform to be adjustedby means of an elbow located at its bottom and the distance from the device to the reference frameby means of a movable metal plate.The device therefore allows to raise a camera of photos or video at the height ofthetreetop to makethe necessary observations.

This ensures a perfect take of the images without having to destroy partof thetreeor to climb to the top of the tree.The device ensures an adequate stability for the taking of the images or videos and allows aregulation of the height of observation, as well as the angle of the camera or video to adapt to awide range of heightsof more thantwo meters.


Techniques of direct observation or collection of samples (usually fragments of the branches of theplant) have been used with pruning shears orpruning hooksincorporated topoles.The direct observation ofsamples in height (middle or upper zone of treetops) requires artificialmeans of elevation (stairs, platforms, etc.), with the consequent risk to the observer.

On the other hand, the cutting of branches involves a partial destruction of the tree.In this way, both groups of techniques limit the possibilities of replication.

-Nevertheless, this new method, allows to make the observations that are considered necessary as it is not invasive.

-It ensures with him, a perfect taking of the images without having todestroy part of the treetop or to climb to that heights.

-The device ensures an adequate stability for the taking of the images or videos and allows a regulation of the height of observation, as well as the angle of the camera or video.


The device allows various applications in the fields of forestry, agriculture andinbasic research onaspects related to the ecophysiology of trees.

The detailed imaging of the treetopsallows the quantification of the production of different organs(number of flowers, fruits, leaves, new branches, etc.), to evaluate their phenological status, toevaluate the presence of parasites, frost or hail, or anyother biotic or abiotic phenomenon that mayaffect the tree and therefore its productivity.

The device is especially useful for specimens whose height does not allow direct observation by aperson from the ground. Because the image is taken referenced toa known surface (rectangularwooden frame area), images taken from different specimens can be compared, thus comparing theefficiency of different silvicultural or agricultural treatments (phytosanitary treatments, subscribers,irrigation, etc.)on the state of health and productivity of the different individuals.

In addition, it would also allowsa more complete assessments of damageof trees andagricultureby agents of agricultural insurers.


The research group seeks to reach commercial agreementsor licensing agreements with forestry,agriculture and agricultural insurers, interested in the observation and control of specimens whoseheight does not allow direct observation from the ground.

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent

Patent number :

Where : fruits, agroforestry studies, phytosanitary treatments, crops.

Related Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture and Marine Resources
  • Sylviculture, Forestry, Forest technology
  • Forest technology
  • Sylviculture, Forestry
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Forensic science
  • crops
  • fruits
  • pests
  • trees
  • biotic agent
  • abiotic agent
  • agroforestry studies
  • phytosanitary treatments
  • forestry
  • treeptop
  • forest
  • phenology
  • agroforestry

About Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

The Technology Transfer Office at Alcalá University serves as a liaison between the University and its socioeconomic environment in terms of research and innovation. It encorages collaboration between research groups from universities and companies/institutions, with the objective to promote and commercialize research results and scientific capabilities.

Some of the services offered by this office are specified in the following list:

- Promotion of R & D and improvement of the relationships with companies.
- Promote the participation in R & D projects applicants to public calls (regional, national and European).
- Advising, processing and monitoring of patents and other forms of industrial protection.
- Support in the negotiation of contracts and agreements for R&D&i

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