Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

Although we consume about 100 billion bananas each year, the future of the world’s most popular fruit is threatened by a number of diseases that are silently destroying crops around the world. For that reason, researchers have been working on a tool that allows farmers to detect diseases early and help them save their crops before the diseases take hold. 

The tool is an artificially-intelligent smartphone app, and it can scan banana plants to detect early signs of infection. Thus far, researchers have found that the new tool—which uses the phone’s camera to screen crops—is at least 90% accurate in identifying the six most serious diseases and pests that plague banana plants. Those include two globally-destructive infections, known as Black Sigatoka and Fusarium Wilt, which together have decimated vast tracts of banana plantations worldwide. 

The major benefit of the app is its flexibility, according to the researchers. It can identify signs of disease on any part of the plant, and can accurately identify disease even in low-quality photos or in images where there’s lots of background noise—such as leaf litter coating the ground. 

In some cases, the detection rate for the disease was as high as 100%. It seems there’s no limit to what AI can do, though we ought to stay mindful of downstream implications!

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

California opens its first solar-powered composting facility

Starting in 2022, most homes and businesses in California will be required to recycle all food and yard waste in their yard debris carts. The effort is part of new state regulation (SB 1383) which ... Read More

Internet sleuth solves decades-long guitar mystery

Canadian rock star Randy Bachman was devastated when his 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar was stolen from his hotel room in 1976, but thanks to a dedicated internet sleuth, the guitar has been returned ... Read More

Mustard plant could be the solution to greener aviation fuel

Aviation accounts for about three percent of all global emissions, but coming up with more sustainable fuel sources would significantly gut down on the industry’s footprint. Researchers from the University of Georgia think they have ... Read More

WHO recognizes Henrietta Lacks for her life-changing contributions to medicine

When Henrietta Lacks sought treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in the 1950s, her cancer cells were harvested without her consent. These “HeLa cells” became the first sample of human cells ... Read More

Indian student designs safe and sustainable solar ironing cart

It’s not uncommon to see ironing vendor carts in the streets of Indian cities. These carts offer quick and affordable ironing services, but their irons are often powered by charcoal, creating air pollution issues. To ... Read More

This bandage quickly identifies the severity of a burn

We recently wrote about a bandage design that indicates potential infection. Now, there’s another smart bandage design in the works. This one, literally called SMART, aims to help first responders evaluate and treat severe burns ... Read More