Diagnosing Plant Diseases with Artificial Intelligence

Published Nov-20-17

An app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers quickly identify diseased crops.

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, United States

The Story:

Diagnosing Plant Diseases with Artificial Intelligence For two exciting days in July 2017, the Urban Hive in Sacramento, California was a hub of feverish intellectual activity and creative endeavors. More than 40 people who hailed from across the US competed against each other to come up with novel apps for today's farmers, food entrepreneurs and consumers.

The Apps for Ag event seeks to bring commercial agricultural producers together with software developers to build solutions for current challenges.

Agricultural Innovation

"We're growing the pipeline of young innovators, getting entrepreneurs and technologists interested in applying technology to solving problems in the food system," said Gabriel Youtsey, chief innovation officer for University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources(UC ANR), which hosted the hackathon.

"UC ANR is the original innovation engine in food, agriculture and natural resources in California and has been so for over 100 years. This is just taking another spin at tackling innovation in food and agriculture through an innovative competition style format with technology."

Novel Concepts

The overall winners were Sreejumon Kundilepurayil and Vidya Kannoly. They picked up a $10,000 prize for their Dr. Green app. It helps people identify crop diseases quickly through artificial intelligence and machine learning, speeding up what can often be a time-consuming process. Their innovation uses data from sensors monitoring temperature, light and soil moisture to alert growers to problems. In addition to their prize money, the winning duo also received other resources to help them get their venture off the ground.

In second place was an app called Greener which will provide home gardeners with a diagnosis if their plants are damaged or diseased. Using a smartphone, gardeners take photographs of the plant symptoms and the app will diagnose what's wrong and recommend treatments. The team behind this app won $5,000 and other resources to help them start their enterprise.

The third place winner was an app called The Farm Table which aims to connect visitors with farms to help make farms more economically sustainable through agritourism. The team behind the program picked up $2,500 and other resources to help them get started.

A Springboard

The organizers of this open innovation event do not take ownership of any concepts or the intellectual property. Nor do they promise to develop any of the innovations. What they do is provide a space where entrepreneurs and innovators can collaborate and dream up new ideas. Then they give the most promising concepts a leg up, a start on the road to full product development.

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