UNL Ag Research Division's 'Big Idea Seminars' Continue in January and February

East Campus pillars at enterance

December 18, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Agricultural Research Division's "Big Idea Seminars" will continue with three seminars in January and February.

"Advances in Plant Recognition and Identification Technology," organized by Steve Young, assistant professor at UNL's West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte, will discuss how plant identification is advancing from keys to computer systems and even apps for use in managed and natural systems.

"The technology boom is revolutionizing management aspects of both crop and non-crop systems, including the use of advanced technology for targeted plant recognition and applications systems," Young said. "Growers will soon have a plant identification monitor sitting next to their yield, soil moisture and nutrient monitors in their tractor cab, while outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and resource managers will have the ability to identify invasive and other important plant species using identification technology that is also equipped with communication and environmental monitoring devices."

With the world population predicted to be 9 billion by 2050, this technology is needed to meet future demands for food, feed and fiber, Young said. Similarly, the increasing threat from invasive species in natural areas and the lack of trained individuals who can properly identify plans are signaling the need for this recognition technology.

The ARD's seminar series hopes to build big ideas and collaborations among faculty members not only at UNL, but across all University of Nebraska campuses.

Dates, speakers, times, locations and topics include:

– Jan. 17, Simon Blackmore, 2 p.m. informal discussion, 3 p.m. reception, 3:30-4:30 p.m. seminar, Nebraska East Union, "New Concepts in Agricultural Automation."

– Jan. 22, David Jacobs, 2 p.m. informal discussion, 110 Avery Hall; 3 p.m. reception, 348 Avery Hall; 3:30-4:30 p.m. seminar, 115 Avery Hall, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UNL City Campus, "Using Computer Vision for Species Identification."

– Feb. 1, Lie Tang, 2 p.m. informal discussion, 3 p.m. reception, 3:30-4:30 seminar, Nebraska East Union, UNL East Campus, "Plant Recognition for Robotic Weeding: Challenges and Opportunities."

Blackmore, professor at Harper Adams University College in England, is a key figure in the development of precision farming and agricultural robotics with a worldwide reputation. He worked for 12 years in Africa and Europe before starting his academic career and now collaborates with many universities around the world to help develop precision farming and agricultural robotics. His presentation will discuss how smarter machines will save time and money.

Jacobs is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment in the university's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. Jacobs' research has focused on human and computer vision, especially in the areas of object recognition and perceptual organization. He will describe the first mobile app for identifying plant species using automatic visual recognition. The system called LeafSnap identifies tree species from photographs of their leaves. In addition, he will discuss some recent work on animal species identification.

Tang is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. His research program focuses on the development of robotic and intelligent systems for agricultural applications such as robotic weeding. He will present his research findings in crop and weed recognition, and share his vision about how the technological advancements in sensing and computation may enable us to invent new weeding tools that can maximize weed control efficacy while minimizing their environmental footprint.

For more information visit the ARD's Big Idea Seminars website.

The seminar series is in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Stephen Young, Ph.D.
Agronomy & Horticulture
Weed Ecologist
(308) 696-6712

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service
(402) 472-3030

Department: Agricultural Research Division

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