WAMU 88.5 : News

What's That Tree? There's An App for That!

Play associated audio

In the Smithsonian's Moongate Garden just off the National Mall, University of Maryland computer scientist David Jacobs pulls a leaf from a tree.

"This looks like a pretty good," he says. Then, he snaps a photo of it with his iPhone.

Moments later, the phone produces information about the tree: "This one is a katsura tree, that looks like a pretty good match," he says.

Jacobs, along with researchers at Columbia University and the Smithsonian, adapted facial recognition software to create an iPhone app called [Leafsnap](www.leafsnap.com} that identifies 191 types of tree found in Central Park and Rock Creek Park.

It'll eventually expand to cover all tree species in North America. John Kress, a research botanist with the Smithsonian, says the application could have ramifications for conservation.

"If people don't know what they're looking at, they're not going to care about conserving it," he says. "What this app does is it lets people know what they're looking at."

The Leafsnap app is free, and developers say an Android version is coming out in a few months.

NPR

'Swiss Army Man' Directors Explain The Symbolism Behind A Farting Corpse

The directors of Swiss Army Man — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — talk to NPR's Kelly McEvers about what inspired them to make a movie about a flatulent corpse, and the deeper meaning behind it.
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

Kansas Votes More Money For Public Schools To Avert Shutdown

Legislators, pressured by the state Supreme Court, passed a $38 million package for the state's underfunded schools. Justices had threatened to close all public schools in Kansas after this month.
NPR

Shock, Rage And Gallows Humor: A Brexit Backlash On Social Media

Young voters had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union. Now there's a flood of anger from those who accuse older generations of choosing a future they don't want.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.