This paper presents a framework for the evaluation of system complexity and utility and the identification of bottlenecks in the deployment of field-based, high-throughput phenotyping (FB-HTP) systems. Although the capabilities of technology used for high-throughput phenotyping has improved and costs decreased, there have been few, if any, successful attempts at developing turnkey field-based phenotyping systems. To identify areas for future improvement in developing turnkey FB-HTP solutions, a framework for evaluating their complexity and utility was developed and applied to total of 10 case studies to highlight potential barriers in their development and adoption. The framework performs system factorization and rates the complexity and utility of subsystem factors, as well as each FB-HTP system as a whole, and provides data related to the trends and relationships within the complexity and utility factors. This work suggests that additional research and development are needed focused around the following areas: (i) data handling and management, specifically data transfer from the field to the data processing pipeline, (ii) improved human-machine interaction to facilitate usability across multiple users, and (iii) design standardization of the factors common across all FB-HTP systems to limit the competing drivers of system complexity and utility. This framework can be used to evaluate both previously developed and future proposed systems to approximate the overall system complexity and identify areas for improvement prior to implementation.
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