New tech introduces facial recognition app for animals

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • A new software app called BearID can detect up to 132 kinds of animals, especially bears.
  • According to its creators, the app can effectively track animals in the wild.
  • A similar app is undergoing development that aims to assist ranchers in the disease management of cows.

CNN reported on Sunday that facial recognition software’s new technology can now detect bears.

The new software called BearID, is built by bear biologist and University of Victoria postdoctoral fellow Melanie Clapham alongside two Silicon Valley-based tech workers.

With the aid of artificial intelligence (AI), the new tech is capable of recognizing 132 types of animals. The app is especially effective for monitoring and tracking bears, according to Clapham.

The scientist told CNN that using RFID tags or collar attachable to monitor wild animals were more invasive and risky, shorter-lived, and requires more funding than the newly created software.

Teaming up with the two tech-workers, Ed Miller and Mary Nguyen, of San Jose, California, the trio was able to collect almost 5,000 photos of bears from Alaska and Canada. With the collation, the team was able to make data sets and instruct the software to determine particular faces. 

“It does way better than we do,” Miller told CNN.

Kansas cattle rancher Joe Hoagland is creating a similar software for cows called CattleTracs. Any device with a photo can capture pictures of cow which can be stored through the app’s online database with other details including GPS.

Subsequent photos of the same cow can be used to monitor its condition over time as the app works on matching the photos.

Hoagland told CNN that the app would be conducive for disease management.

“Being able to trace that diseased animal, find its source, quarantine it, do contact tracing — all the things we’re talking about with coronavirus are things we can do with animals, too,” he said.

Hoagland is anticipating the availability of his app by December.

BearID and CattleTracs were among the few projects created to make facial recognition software for animals.

Source: New York Post

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