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Posts Tagged: apps

Apps for Ag Hackathon winner uses AI to diagnose plant problems

Sreejumon Kundilepurayil, left, and Vidya Kannoly and their Dr. Green app took first place in the Apps for Ag hackathon. Dr. Green uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to quickly advise growers how to treat ailing plants.

For 48 hours, innovators and entrepreneurs at the Apps for Ag Hackathon labored over laptops at The Urban Hive in Sacramento before pitching their ideas to judges at the California State Fair. More than 40 people, some from as far as New York and Texas, competed for a $10,000 grand prize and assistance from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources to turn their ideas into commercial enterprises.

Ultimately Dr. Green, a mobile app to diagnose plant problems, took the top prize on Sunday (July 30). The second-place Greener app also helps people diagnose and treat plant diseases. Farm Table, an app that promotes agritourism, came in third place.

One goal of the hackathon was to produce solutions for military veterans who are becoming farmers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was a major sponsor of the event and leaders from Washington D.C. were on site all weekend participating.

“There was an amazing range of applications this year,” said Gabriel Youtsey, chief innovation officer.

Gabe Youtsey, right, oversaw the Apps for Ag hackathon.
Twelve teams pitched new ways to apply technology to improve the food system.

“There was an application to take a picture of a plant and it'll identify the plant disease – which can help anyone from backyard gardeners to professional growers – all the way to an application for community-supported fisheries, which helps fishermen better scale their businesses and allows for customers to get the freshest fish,” Youtsey said.

There was an app to match unemployed veterans with farm jobs, an online resource for bees, an app to simplify shipping logistics, an app for detecting mold on produce and many more solutions for food-related problems.

1st Place: Dr. Green

Figuring out why a plant is ailing can be time-consuming for a new farmer or backyard gardener. The plant doctor is always in with Dr. Green. The app created by Sreejumon Kundilepurayil and Vidya Kannoly of Pleasanton will help people identify crop diseases quickly through artificial intelligence and machine learning. The app can incorporate data from sensors monitoring temperature, light and soil moisture to alert growers to problems. Using a smart phone, backyard gardeners and growers can take a photo of plant symptoms and get a diagnosis or use the messaging feature to ask a question about symptoms and receive advice immediately.

Kundilepurayil and Kannoly won $10,000 and tickets to the UC Davis Food and Ag Entrepreneurship Academy, $3,000 worth of Google Cloud Platform credits, plus other resources to help the team start their venture. 

From left, Calvin Doval, Scott Kirkland, John Knoll and Shiang-Wan Chin's Greener app, which diagnoses plant diseases from a photo, took second place.

2nd Place: Greener

Using a smart phone, home gardeners can take a photo of plant symptoms and quickly get a diagnosis and recommended integrated pest management treatment from the Greener app, created by Scott Kirkland, John Knoll and Shiang-Wan Chin of Davis and Calvin Doval of Oakland. They won $5,000 and $1,000 worth of Google Cloud Platform credits and other resources to help start their venture.

From left, Heather Lee, Will Mitchell and Zhenting Zhou finished third with their Farm Table app, which promotes agritourism.

3rd Place: The Farm Table

The Farm Table app aims to make farms more economically sustainable and educate the public about food through agritourism. Heather Lee of San Francisco teamed up with Will Mitchell of Sacramento and Zhenting Zhou of New York City to create the agritourism app.

“We are making agritourism accessible to farmers by building a platform that's connecting visitors with farms,” said Lee. “This is going to help educate our communities on where their food comes from and create an additional revenue source for farmers.”

They won $2,500 and $1,000 worth of Google Cloud Platform credits and other resources to help start their venture.

USDA chief data officer Bobby Jones, center, was among the mentors advising hackathon participants on their projects at the Urban Hive in Sacramento.

Growing the pipeline of young innovators

Judges included Joshua Tuscher of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Robert Trice, investor and founder of The Mixing Bowl Hub; Jenna Rodriguez, product manager at Ceres Imaging; Ann Dunkin, chief information officer for the County of Santa Clara; and Jessica Smith, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at AngelHack.

Apps for Ag is a food and agriculture innovation event series hosted by UC ANR and sponsored by IO Labs, The Urban Hive, California Community Colleges and the California State Fair.

“We're growing the pipeline of young innovators, getting entrepreneurs and technologists interested in applying technology to solving problems in the food system,” said Youtsey, who led organization of the hackathon. 

“UC ANR is the original innovation engine in food, agriculture and natural resources in California and has been so for over 100 years. This is just taking another spin at tackling innovation in food and agriculture through an innovative competition style format with technology,” he said.

Additional support for the hackathon was provided by Valley Vision, The Mixing Bowl, Farmer Veteran Coalition, AngelHack, Nutiva, Google Cloud Platform, Royse Law Firm, Hot Italian, GTS Kombucha, Startup Sac, AgStart, StartupGrind Sacramento, Future Food, Internet Society San Francisco Bay Chapter, Sacramento Food Co-op, Balsamiq and YouNoodle.

Posted on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 3:51 PM

IPMinfo app now available for Android devices

IPMinfo app, which was released last year for iOS devices, is now available with advanced features for Android devices. The app provides biology, symptoms of damage and management options for pests and diseases. The pest information is available in English and Spanish.

The free app, which currently has information about strawberry pests and diseases, has been well-received by the industry, according to Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo County, who developed the app.

Dara plans to add details on weeds and disorders and multiple crops. The strawberry and vegetable crops advisor is taking a short sabbatical leave until Jan. 31 to develop content for vegetables for the app. A new version for iOS devices will be released in the near future.

Dara welcomes feedback through the app or via email at skdara@ucanr.edu.

Details about IPMinfo can be found at the Google Play Store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fission.ipminfo.

 

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 at 10:16 AM

ANR develops innovation incubation strategy

Fred Mendez (center), of Union Bank, was among the 40 people who met on Aug. 30 to develop a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources.

“If UC ANR isn't an incubator, I don't know what is. Furthermore, I would argue that the partnership of our land-grant university system with Cooperative Extension is the original and most productive incubator that the world has ever seen,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in the October-December 2015 issue of California Agriculture.  

Since joining ANR, Humiston has been working to expand UC ANR's incubation activities by joining with diverse partners to develop a much broader innovation infrastructure specifically designed to support intellectual property, innovation, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, startups and commercialization aimed at agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. 

“A lot of people have ideas, but they don't know how to be business leaders. An incubator connects them with the things they need to be successful as new entrepreneurs,” said Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

"We're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure,” Humiston said.

To kick off development of such a system, Humiston brought together 40 people on Aug. 30 with a wide range of expertise and representing a variety of sectors: agriculture, banking, business, government, technology and higher education – including leaders of several successful incubators. The purpose of the meeting, held at the ANR building in Davis, was to engage the group in developing a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources. 

“We're not looking to reinvent the wheel or duplicate existing efforts,” Humiston said, explaining that she hopes to support and leverage the strengths and efforts of partners.

Christine Gulbranson, UC senior vice president of research innovation and entrepreneurship, and Reg Kelly of UC San Francisco, who created QB3, – one of UC's best performing incubators – participated in the session. The quantitative biologists at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz who comprise QB3 take on challenges in biology using physics, chemistry, and computer science. QB3's Startup in a Box provides legal and grant-writing help for biotech startups.

“We want to take the QB3 model and modify it for ANR,” Humiston said. “But we don't have the resources to build a statewide system by ourselves so we're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure.”

Such an innovation system could benefit a wide array of entrepreneurs in rural areas and help to commercialize ideas generated by UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors.

“Over the past eight years, ANR researchers have filed 148 patents,” Humiston said. “However, it is unclear if many of those had the support they needed to go the next step.”

Participants identified resources available and gaps around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement.

At the meeting, the group divided into five tables of eight people. Each table had representatives of UC ANR, various UC campuses, state and federal government, funding institutions, incubators, and different industries. They discussed issues around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement, answering the following questions:

  • What exists now?
  • Where are the gaps that need to be filled?
  • Which of these gaps could UC ANR help catalyze and fill, either with partners or on its own?
  • How could this work to fill the gaps be funded?
  • How do we measure success?

Conversations were lively and many ideas were brought forth for specific projects and other implementation. “It's really exciting,” said Humiston. “People were jazzed. Virtually all of the participants said they want to work with us on next steps.”

In addition to Humiston and Youtsey, AVP Wendy Powers and UCCE advisors David Doll and Andre Biscaro participated for ANR. Consultant Meg Arnold is writing up a report, which is expected to be released in early October. 

Names in the News

Konrad Mathesius
Mathesius named UCCE agronomy advisor in Capitol Corridor

Konrad Mathesius (pronounced “Muh-tay-zee-us”) is the new UCCE agronomy advisor for Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties.

Mathesius, who joined ANR on June 27, will be working with growers and pest control advisers in the Capitol Corridor area to address issues related to soils, pests, diseases and production efficiency. In addition to collaborating on a few projects with UCCE advisor Rachael Long in alfalfa, dry beans and sunflowers, he will work on a wide range of agronomic crops including corn, wheat, barley and safflower. 

Mathesius will work with growers and PCAs to mitigate crop losses by addressing pest and disease pressures and to help them comply with nitrogen, pesticide and water regulations. He also plans to develop crop guidelines based on difficulties associated with specific soils in the Capitol Corridor.

The native of Logan, Utah, earned his undergraduate degree at Utah State and his master's degrees in soil science and international agricultural development at UC Davis.

“After graduation, I spent a few years working in the private sector, where I gained a sense of respect for bottom lines and the hustle to make ends meet,” Mathesius said. “I intend to bring the question of cost and efficiency into most, if not all of my work.”

Based in Woodland, Mathesius can be reached at kpmathesius@ucanr.edu and (530) 666-8704.

Kathryn Stein
Stein joins ANR as AVP executive assistant

Kathryn Stein has joined ANR as executive assistant to Wendy Powers, Associate Vice President 

Prior to joining ANR, Stein worked in the College of Engineering Dean's office at UC Berkeley for three and a half years. She earned a B.S. in environmental horticulture and urban forestry from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. While in Davis, she worked for the Whole Earth Festival, an annual sustainability festival on the UC Davis campus.  

Stein is based on the 10th floor of UCOP and can be reached at Kathryn.Stein@ucop.edu  and (510) 587-6240.

Martinez and Au receive NIH Career Development Awards

Two researchers at the Nutrition Policy Institute have been awarded K01 Career Development Awards by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lauren Au will research disparities in the relationship between the school nutrition environment and childhood obesity and Suzanna Martinez will study sleep duration and risk for obesity in Mexican-American children.

Martinez will receive $895,620 and Au will receive $840,871. Martinez has also been accepted into the K Scholars Program at UC San Francisco, which will provide her with peer support and mentorship to conduct the study.

Barbara Allen-Diaz
Allen-Diaz honored by APLU

Barbara Allen-Diaz, who retired as ANR vice president in 2015, is among five Land Grant university leaders recognized for Excellence in National Leadership by the Experiment Station Section of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The other individuals honored with Allen-Diaz were:

  • Walter A. Hill, Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University
  • Steve Slack, formerly associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of OARDC, The Ohio State University (recently retired)
  • Daniel Rossi, formerly executive director, Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (recently retired)
  • William (Bill) Brown, dean of research and director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Tennessee

The resolution reads in part: “These leaders have personified the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the Regional Associations and Experiment Station Section in achieving their mission and the Land-grant ideal.”

The awards were announced at the annual Experiment Station Section meeting on Sept. 21 in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM

UC ANR introduces Zoom for online conferencing

UC ANR is ready to roll out Zoom conferencing to all UC ANR staff and academics, announced Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

“Zoom is the easiest to use high-quality video, phone and web conferencing service on the market,” said Youtsey. “After an extensive analysis, the UC has established a systemwide Zoom contract for a very low cost, which UC ANR IT is covering. Our goal is for Zoom to become the common tool for communication within the division, and for collaboration with campus and external teams worldwide.”

Zoom can replace Skype, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting and ReadyTalk. Some of Zoom's features include:

  • Super easy video conferencing on your computer, mobile device, or room system for up to 50 connections
  • Unlimited phone conferencing for up to 50
  • Ability to support large meetings with up to 100 and webinars up to 500 participants (see instructions below)
  • Enabled for PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices
  • Compatible with any existing teleconference phones from Polycom, Tandberg, LifeSize etc.

Everything you need to log in and get started using Zoom is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/zoom. If you have a UC ANR portal account and @ucanr.edu email address, log in at https://ucanr.zoom.us.

Additional Zoom features are available to ANR employees:

  • ANR has a license for a 100-participant meeting (two-way communication), which can be reserved for occasional use at no cost.
  • ANR has a license for 500-participant webinars (one-way communication, which can be reserved for occasional use at no cost.
  • There are a range of large meeting and webinar licenses you can purchase as “add-ons” for your exclusive use if needed. Contact the IT Service Desk for more information.
  • Zoom Rooms is a great way to connect conference rooms to the Zoom service for high-quality video, phone and web conferencing. Contact the IT Service Desk for more information for equipment and pricing information.

For help to get Zoom up and running, contact the ANR IT Service Desk at help@ucanr.edu or call (530) 750-1212.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:44 AM
 
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