Australia just invented Shazam for spiders

Australia just invented Shazam for spiders


Save me Critterpedia!

Video screenshot of the Australian Reptile Park by Amanda Kooser / CNET

As a spider and snake noob, who moved from Great Britain to Australia in 2005. Perhaps a dozen times since I arrived, I uploaded a picture of a gnarled-looking spider to the internet and asked anxiously, “Will this thing kill me?”

At some point I asked myself: Why the hell didn’t anyone invent Shazam for spiders?

They know like a smartphone app that I can use to easily take a photo of a spider or a snake – or any animal I’m worried about murder I – and have identified it for me.

Fortunately, it now exists: meet Critterpedia.

Critterpedia is a collaboration between the makers Nic and Murray Scare and the Australian National Science Agency CSIRO. It is a machine learning machine that can automatically identify different types of spiders and snakes. An AI-based algorithm like Critterpedia needs hundreds of thousands of images to be accurate in its ratings. CSIRO and Data 61 therefore hope to get as many people as possible to download Critterpedia and upload pictures of spiders and snakes that they may see in the wild.

“The visual differences between the two species can be very subtle. We need a lot of training data to adequately identify living things,” said Dr. Matt Adcock, project manager and Data61 researcher.

Here you can register as a phase 1 tester of a beta version of the app. CSIRO hopes that this project can help save human and animal lives.

“Using cutting edge disruptive technology, Critterpedia can help people gain a deeper understanding of our misunderstood wildlife by providing the tools and experience they need for great education, the key to positive change,” said Nic Scarce, CEO and Co-founder of Critterpedia.

I’ll download this thing as soon as possible.

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