1. Agriculture World

Doctor X Nabat- AI App for Detecting Diseases & Pests in Horticultural Crops

This tool, aimed at farmers and agriculture experts, is available for Android devices as well as computers. The application employs an ODK Collect form and, using a photograph uploaded by the user, scans the extent of the plant's damage and provides an efficient response with the treatment required.

Shivam Dwivedi
Showcasing Mobile App- Doctor X Nabat
Showcasing Mobile App- Doctor X Nabat

Doctor X Nabat is the name of an application developed by members of the Plant Phenomics research group at the University of Barcelona and Agrotecnio (CERCA centre affiliated with the University of Lleida), in collaboration with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai, for the early detection of diseases and pests in horticultural crops (United Arab Emirates).

This tool, aimed at farmers and agriculture experts, is available for Android devices as well as computers. The application employs an ODK Collect form and, using a photograph uploaded by the user, scans the extent of the plant's damage and provides an efficient response with the treatment required. Doctor X Nabat has been tested on tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants in Egypt, Tunis and the United Arab Emirates, and it is now being developed to be used in other crops in Mediterranean areas.

Improving Crop Performance

Annual crop losses due to biotic stress, such as diseases and pests, range between 20 and 40%, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, or nutritional deficiencies, can also harm crops. These damages jeopardize rural life, the national economy, and food safety.

As a result, Doctor X Nabat, the result of a two-year collaborative research project, has focused on providing an early response in order to prevent crop loss and reduce the need for phytosanitary intensive applications.

"Artificial intelligence offers many possibilities in agriculture, one of which is the creation of applications like this one, which we offer to farmers to help them deal with losses," says Josep Llus Araus, principal researcher of the Plant Phenomics research group and professor at the UB's Faculty of Biology's Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Sciences.

Deep learning technology is being used in the project to improve the speed and efficiency of the mechanisms that build the application. According to Shawn Carlisle Kefauver, a member of Plant Phenomics and one of the project's drivers, "deep learning allows us to accelerate the functioning of the application so that the farmer receives a quick response after uploading the image of the disease, it takes ten seconds."

Doctor X Nabat's algorithm, as well as its website format, DoctorXUB.com, were created using over 25,000 photographs of various diseases, abiotic stresses, and nutritional deficiencies uploaded by the project's research staff and collaborators.

The farmer takes a picture of an affected plant from the crops when using Doctor X Nabat. The application then performs a precise diagnosis, indicating a percentage of probability, indicating the disease or pest present and how it can be treated. The phytosanitary treatment proposed as a solution is one of those recognized by EU standards.

Doctor X Nabat is currently available in English, with a French and Arabian version in the works. The most recent version, which is currently in beta testing, will provide a solution for pest removal using ecological fertilizers. To disseminate information about the application to the general public and developing countries in the Mediterranean region, the UB, Agrotecnio, and ICBA research teams will organize farmer training activities in 2022.

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