Smartphone App For Soil Color Determination

Market Overview:

An inexpensive, precise, and more readily available alternative to qualitative methods, this smartphone app utilizes the Nix Pro color sensor which is one of the most accurate and proven soil color determination sensors presently on the market. BCC Research estimates that the global environmental sensor and monitoring business has grown approximately $4.4 billion dollars from 2014 to 2019, a CAGR of 5.9%. The conventional Munsell Color Chart method for color analysis is subject to multiple limitations including human error, variable environmental conditions, and difficult statistical analysis. Clemson researchers have developed a more precise, accurate, and objective tool called the Nix Pro to successfully measure soil color in a variety of color codes, with smartphone applications.


Application                                                                   Stage of Development

Geology, Agriculture,                                                          Proof of concept

Environmental Science, Colorimetry,

Soil Data Collection, Soil Science Education     



  • Color values are closely related to that of a laboratory standard colorimeter, providing more accurate and precise soil color determinations
  • Built in LED light source and Bluetooth controls, allowing for simple, convenient smartphone applications
  • Sensor scan produces variety of accurate color codes including CMYK, RGB, HEX, and HTML, allowing for objective conversion to Munsell color codes


Technical Summary

Munsell Color Charts are often used for a convenient, in-the-field soil color analysis. Soil color can be a robust indicator of organic matter and iron oxide levels and humus content in soil. Further, it can be used to differentiate between soils after treatments like air-drying, moistening, ashing, and more. However, different regions have different soil properties, and other treatments may be needed to objectively and accurately determine color. The Nix Pro Color Sensor provides a superior, convenient alternative for soil color determination, as its color values are more closely related to that of a laboratory standard colorimeter.  This low cost sensor is controlled wirelessly by any Android or Apple phone or tablet through Bluetooth and has its own light-emitting diode (LED) light source located within the concave base of the sensor. The sensor is rechargeable, easily accessible because of its small size, easily recalibrated, and can produce scan results in various color system codes Additionally, this technology is able to determine the true color of a soil sample regardless of moisture content or indoor/outdoor lighting conditions.


View printable PDF version of this technology 


Inventor:                       Christopher Post, Mark Schlautman, Elena Mikhailova

IP Type:                         Copyrighted software

CURF Ref No:              2018-050

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Christopher Post
Elena Mikhailova
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