Scientists Developing iPhone App to Crowdsource Plant Research

central park A group of scientists and researchers from the Smithsonian, University of Maryland, and Columbia University is working on an iPhone application that turns budding scientists into valuable research contributors.

The application is still in the early stages of development, but once it's completed, users will be able to snap a picture of a plant and have the app automatically identify it based on the leaf structure. The iPhone app will then automatically send the data to a central database where scientists can use it for plant research. 

Initially, the app will work with plants in New York City's Central Park. If all goes well, the project will be expanded throughout the northeastern U.S. The app's research team hasn't yet announced a release date for its product, but there are plenty of other iPhone apps to tide over science geeks in the meantime. The Genetic Decoder lets you input RNA codons and get amino acid information, Uranus uses GPS to give you a guide to the night sky as seen from wherever you're standing, and the Apple Tree Spacing App helps you figure out correct tree spacing based on rootstock, irrigation, soil, and more.

[Via CNN]

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  • Ash Sangamneheri

    Hmm.. while walking in Richmond Park a couple of weeks back I had a similar idea. To develop an smart phone application which listens to the chirping sound of birds and detects which birds are near you and provide info on them, logs the find on Google maps, etc. Bird watchers do this, but it takes years experience to recognise different birds by the sound they make.

    There are applications which listen to the song playing and tell you the artist/album name, so it is technically possible.

    An application like this would make us more aware of the environment we live in and appreciate it a bit more. And at the same time help create a crowd sourced bird map.