Over the course of its existence, Shazam has transformed countless people into musical savants. The smartphone app is about the closest mobiles get to being magic wands, allowing users to identify songs that are playing around them with the simple press of a button.
Now, [email protected] is set to make landscape architects – or simple flora enthusiasts – equally all-knowing.
A team of researchers from Cirad, IRA, Inria / IRD and the Tela Botanica Network recently released [email protected] as an application that works in a similar way to Shazam. Instead of identifying songs, [email protected] is capable of identifying species of plant.
The app collects data from a large social network that is constantly uploading images and information about plant species. For those unable to pinpoint a particular species, the app uses visualisation software that recognises the plant and links it back to its library of plant information. All the user has to do is take and upload a photo of the mystery plant.
There are currently several variations of [email protected], which are downloaded based on user location. For instance, a user in Europe would download the variant containing plants that grow in Europe. Although there is not yet a version of [email protected] specific to Australia, there is a general category called ‘Useful Plants’, which contains 2,553 species and counting.