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Powered by Artificial Intelligence, smartphones can now ward off banana pests


Nagaraj Soundararajan
Banana, a nutritionally-rich, delicious fruit, is a widely-cultivated crop across the world and is a staple diet of people living in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Due to pests and diseases, only 13% of the global production is traded, and often, farmers in India experience severe loss due to fusarium wilt or Panama disease. A novel innovation now aims to change the fortunes of banana growers by helping them detect diseases and pests with their smartphone. In a recent study, researchers from the USA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and India have developed a banana pest detection app powered by artificial intelligence (AI). 

Artificial Intelligence is an emerging arena in computer science where machines are programmed to simulate human intelligence and perform tasks like speech recognition, visual perception, language translation and decision-making. In this study, published in the journal Plant methods,  the researchers propose a pest detection system that identifies pests using images taken by phone cameras.

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