WIWAM – Automated systems for plant phenotyping

Weighing, Imaging & Watering Machines for Scientific research

WIWAM is the collective name for a series of plant phenotyping robots, which are designed and developed by SMO and VIB. The systems allow for the automated imaging and the precise irrigation of plants, according to a preset scheme, specific for each plant or group of plants. The combination of automated plant handling with non-invasive imaging methods yields a variety of plant growth parameters at regular time intervals during development and ensures the high-throughput and reproducible phenotyping of plants.

Currently, there are three standard types of WIWAM phenotyping platforms:


An overlying portal robot, positioned in a growth room, for the treatment of arabidopsis or other small plants. A robotic arm picks individual pots from the top. Images are typically acquired by a top view camera.

Read more about WIWAM XY

WIWAM line

An underlying portal robot, positioned in a growth room,  for the treatment of small maize or other similar plants. A robotic arm picks individual pots from the side. Images are typically acquired from different angles by a side view camera.

Read more about WIWAM Line

WIWAM conveyor

An integrated greenhouse solution for the automated phenotyping of maize or other large plants. A conveyor network brings the plants to weighing & watering stations and to imaging cabins, harboring a range of non-invasive camera systems.

Read more about WIWAM Conveyor


  • Plants rotate while watering for an optimal water distribution.
  • High-precision irrigation pumps.
  • Setups can be equipped with environmental sensors.
  • The systems come with an intuitive user interface.
  • Open database structure.
  • Fully customized and tailor made systems are also possible!

Download the information brochure (pdf)

Visit us!

You can visit the different types of WIWAM robots @ VIB Ghent, Belgium. Contact us for more information.

Subscribe to our mailing list


Genetic resources and sequence data are accumulating quickly, while linking this information to gene function is progressing at a much slower pace, indicating that plant phenotyping is a major bottleneck in the process of understanding the genomic code and implementing this knowledge to improve crop productivity. Phenotyping is widely recognized as the most laborious and technically challenging part of the process, making it costly and time consuming. However, this ‘phenotyping bottleneck’ can now be addressed by combining novel image acquisition technologies, robotics, image analysis, and data processing.

The WIWAM platforms integrate these strategies and replaces a lot of manual handling. This plant phenotyping platform can be incorporated in a plethora of research domains, including plant growth regulation, drought tolerance, plant physiology, stress response to salinity or heavy metals. It can also be used to study the effect of chemicals or to analyze plant growth under various light conditions, nutrient levels or soil types.