What plant is that? – There’s an app for that

A high-tech image recognition program has been developed by Perth researchers to identify plant species using just a picture of their leaves.

Lost in the wild and need to know if a plant is edible or poisonous? Or want to know if there is a weed among your crops – well, thanks to Hezekiah Babatunde, a PhD Student at Edith Cowan University, there’ll soon be an app for that.

“This work is expected to have applications in agricultural informatics and sectors to automate the process of plant identification,” says Hezekiah.

There are more than 250,000 plant species on Earth and currently their identification requires experts such as a botanist, or someone with a vast knowledge plants.

Using a complex algorithm along with artificial intelligence, this program can identify leaves based on their shape, texture and colour.

“Farmers and survivalists will be able to use this program in an app form to get real time updates on their local plants with a simple smartphone image,” explains Hezekiah. “Anyone, anywhere will be able to identify plants as weeds, foods, medicines and shelter.”

Hezekiah presented his research at Fresh Science WA 2015. Fresh Science is a national program that helps early-career researchers find and share their stories of discovery. Over 20 early-career researchers nominated for Fresh Science WA, which was held at the Western Australian Museum (training) and the Brisbane Hotel (public challenge event) and was supported by the Western Australian Museum, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame, Australia.

Contact: Hezekiah Babatunde, Edith Cowan University, hezecomp@yahoo.com

Screenshot of Hezekiah's program

Screenshot of Hezekiah’s program

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