Fredericton agtech company Picketa Systems has released its flagship product LENS, which allows agronomists and other agricultural professionals to analyze plant tissue in real-time in the field.

The company, which grew out of the University of New Brunswick Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship program, issued a press release this week announcing the launch and saying it was the first step in Picketa’s mission to enable precision agriculture at scale.

LENS – which stands for Leaf Evaluated-Nutrient System – is a data-collection tool that allows agricultural professionals to perform plant tissue analysis in real-time. It means that agricultural personnel can check the health of a crop while they’re in the field, rather than sending samples to a lab and then waiting days for the results.

“LENS has an intuitive user interface to view, share and compare analysis results anywhere, anytime,” said the press release. “LENS gives its users ultimate control over agriculture data collection and analysis without disrupting existing workflows – making analysis results available at the simple press of a button and unlocking the power of data for optimal fertilizer management.”

The system is powered by an optical sensor used to scan leaf samples and a machine-learning engine on a cloud infrastructure used to interpret the data gathered by the sensor.

Picketa said it plans to release a limited number of LENS units for the 2023 growing season, targeting potato-focused agronomists, crop consultants, and ag businesses who usually process about 500 potato plant tissue samples in a season.

The product now only provides potato plant tissue analysis, and the co-founders expect it will cover more crops in 2024.

The company’s co-founders – Hébert-Couturier, Levesque, Maxime Dumont, and Zachary Andersen – were engineering students at UNB when they started the company in 2020. It grew out of their “capstone project,” a special assignment to develop a commercial product with a multidisciplinary bent.

Picketa closed a $300,000 round of angel funding in May, with East Valley Ventures members providing some of the capital.