Australia: Gritterpedia, an application that tells you whether a spider or a snake is dangerous

Australia: Gritterpedia, an application that tells you whether a spider or a snake is dangerous

Australia’s wildlife is famous for its great diversity, richness and uniqueness, but also for its endangered nature. Among other harmless creatures, the island-continent is actually home to about 2,000 species of spiders and 170 species of snakes, including some powerful specimens.

We see a black widow with a red back in particular (Latrotectus hazeldi) Ranking Very venomous spiders To the world or to the brown snake (Pseudonaja Textiles) Recognized as second Very venomous snake Of the planet. But, unless you are an expert in this matter, it is not always easy to identify at first glance which creatures to avoid.

The idea was to create two Australians, Murray and Nick Scorsese, to overcome this difficulty. Criterpedia, An application capable of determining the family, genus or species of a spider or a snake from a simple photograph, thus informing the user of its danger.

“What is it? Is it poison?”

The project was born out of the personal experience of these two parents who regularly visit from relatives in the United Kingdom. “During one of these trips to Australia, my mother-in-law acted as a magnet for all the snakes, spiders and insects known in our country.Murray Scors said.Questions about their identity and their vulnerability were constant“.

Despite extensive research online, the couple realized there was no way to quickly identify any of these creatures. This is how the idea for CriterPedia was born. In 2018, the project was supported by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), and the company’s Data 61 team worked with Murray and Nick on application design.

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The CriterPedia application aims to identify the spider or snake from a simple photograph. © CSIRO / Data61

So the device promises to provide information about the spider or snake from a simple photo taken via smartphone or other device. Like other applications that allow for example To recognize plants. The identification is thanks to an algorithmic system that compares the properties seen in the photo to a database.

Artificial intelligence to practice

However, for the computer to work, you need to be trained using hundreds of photos of spiders and snakes. The Criterpedia and Data 61 teams are currently focusing on their efforts. “Visual differences between the two species can sometimes be very subtle“Dr. Matt Atcock, researcher and project manager for Data 61, explained in a statement.

Therefore large amounts of training data are required to accurately identify organisms.“, He continued.”We started with numerous images from zoologists collaborating with CriterPedia, and created a set of tools to help semi-automatically categorize these images, verify information, and cross-reference with other sources.“.

In addition to the pictures, Dr. Atcock said the site, which is currently under development, will look into additional information such as GPS location in order to identify the animal being photographed. Users will be helped to learn about the system by submitting their photos to improve the authenticity of the system.

The teams collected more than 200,000 images of spiders and snakes to teach authentication. © Robin Smith / Getty Images

Learn about feared creatures

However, Gritterpedia will not be the simple “shasam” of Australian spiders and snakes. Murray and Nick Scors plan to include advice on what to do about bites and emergency measures, but also information on getting to know wildlife and especially frightened creatures.

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Teaching the public about wildlife in a fun and interactive way, with a particular focus on our venomous friends and exploring why they evoke so many fears, is key to providing a platform that can really make a difference in people’s lives.“, The co-founder explained.

Gritterpedia can create a world where people of all ages, backgrounds and levels can appreciate and respect our environment, and we can live in peace with animals.“, He continued. In the end, the team plans to combine other features, the details of which have not yet been released.

At this time, the Criterpedia application (which only works with Australian species) is still in the testing phase. However, users can Register to download Submit photos to beta version of the site and train the system.

Also read:

Seven new peacock spiders have been identified in Australia
New Zealand zoo successfully lays eggs of world’s largest spider
Snakes: Hope to get a better antivonum against Indian cobra bites

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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