Friday, June 17, 2011

How about plant recognition technology?

Facebook's new face recognition technology has gotten a lot of press recently given privacy concerns.

I'm excited about what this technology could be adopted to.

How about a tree or wildflower identification app for my iPhone?

I've spent some effort over the years learning to identify wild plants - at one point I could identify about 100 different wildflowers in central Pennsylvania, although that was ten years ago and I've forgotten the names of many of them.  Books are certainly handy, but a capable app would be far superior.

In my ideal world, with the app, I could take a picture of a flower or a leaf, and the app would tell me the name of the plant.  It would have a stop-action video that shows the plant's lifecycle over the course of a year.

Next, I'd like an app to identify the sounds from birds and other noisy creatures.  If Shazaam can identify songs, I expect my iPhone could also be trained to identify songbirds, crickets, and the other insects of the evening symphony in the countryside.

I'd love to be able to hold up the phone, sample, and see the playlist of all the creatures that are singing or humming.

The deep-pocketed environmental non-profits would be smart to invest in tools that allow more people to more readily identify the plants and animals in their environment.  Because once you can identify something and name it, you begin to notice it.  And you can then notice when it is missing.

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