Experimental set up showing soil sample on a 3D-printed turntable with cell phone. A light provides consistent illumination while a white background and white turntable top reduce background influence. The soil sample is rotated on the turn table while taking an image every one fourth rotation.
Seemingly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and we find new uses for them every day. They can help us avoid traffic jams or connect us to family from afar. They can even translate languages on the fly.
Now, scientists have figured out a new trick. Using a regular smartphone camera and some 3D-printed tools, they’ve developed an easier way to measure soil density. With the volume and weight of soil samples, scientists can compare the nutrient or carbon stocks in soils so we better manage them. With their new system, they cheaply reproduced expensive, time-consuming methods that require lasers or