Researchers are developing a way to identify trees by digital images of their leaves. A hand-held electronic field guide takes a picture of a leaf, sends the image to a database, and provides a list of 5-10 possible matches.
Each species has roughly 20 images associated with it, and if the image alone does not work, people will be able to include other characteristics such as bark color, flowers, flower color, etc.
“We believe there is enough information in a single leaf to identify a species,” he said. “Our brains can’t remember all of these characteristics, but the computer can.”
Right now, it only contains images from the Northeast of the United States, but it will slowly spread. Each region will have different species of plants, which will require a different database of images.
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