April 13, 2011: Zebra ID project by PhD student Mayank Lahiri is getting a lot of publicity

"Ever thought that the zebra's black-and-white striped markings resemble a biological barcode? Well now a team of US computer scientists and biologists have come up with a scanner, allowing them to identify individual animals from a single still photo." New Scientist, April 7, 2011

The story is getting publicity in some media outlets and is all over the blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other media. Here is a sample:

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42500680/ns/technology_and_science-science/
Discovery Channel: http://news.discovery.com/tech/barcode-scanner-identifies-striped-animals-110407.html
Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-04/barcode-scanner-zebras-helps-biologists-track-individual-animals at_long_last_zebras_are_scanable.php
CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20052995-1.html
Wired UK: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-04/8/zebra-barcode-scanner
Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/1746237/natures-upc-code-zebras
ReadWriteWeb: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/
treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/04/crowd-sourced-barcode-scanner-created-for-identifying-zebras.php
tecca: http://www.tecca.com/news/2011/04/08/zebra-bar-codes/
horsetalk (NZ): http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2011/04/068.shtml

This "team of computer scientists and biologists" are UIC computer science PhD students Mayank Lahiri and Chayant Tantipathananandh, a biologist from Kenya Rosemary Warungu, an ecology faculty from Princeton Dr. Dan Rubenstein, and a UIC computer science faculty Dr. Tanya Berger-Wolf and the "scanner" is the StripeSpotter, a program for automatic identification of zebras (and other animals from photographs. The program came out of a class project that Mayank has started for the Field Computational Population Biology class in Spring 2010.

On Monday, Science Update intreviewed Mayank and the story will be available as a podcast next week and will be aired on the radio by the end of April.

The scientific paper describing the program: M. Lahiri, C. Tantipathananandh, R. Warungu, D.I. Rubenstein, T.Y. Berger-Wolf. Biometric Animal Databases from Field Photographs: Identification of Individual Zebra in the Wild. Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR 2011), Trento, Italy, 2011.


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