App is picture perfect in identifying plants

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith spotted a flowering plant he liked that was growing in the landscaping outside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and wondered what it was. He thought the plant would look good in the yard of his Greenville home. So he pulled out his phone and took a picture of it.

“I stared at the photo for a moment and thought, ‘now what am I going to do with this?’” He imagined the time he would waste at nurseries looking at hundreds of plants trying to find one that looked just like the picture.

Then it occurred to Smith, who completed an economic degree at East Carolina University in 2010, how handy it would be to have an app on his phone that could identify a plant from a photo. He searched online but didn’t find any apps that were useful.

Later, Smith mentioned this incident to his friend and fellow ECU alumnus Brooks Dixon. Dixon was working for Red Shark Digital, a Greenville company that does web design and develops apps. Red Shark is owned by another ECU alumnus, Chris Rupp, who Smith had classes with as an undergraduate.

Rupp liked Smith’s idea and agreed to create such an app.

“The app has been out for a month and so far we’ve had 350 downloads,” Smith said. “And that’s with absolutely no marketing at all, just word of mouth, and it’s only available so far for Android phones.”greenthumb.jpg

The app, called Greenthumb, is based on object recognition technology. Many flowering plants look alike, so the app also uses GPS location data to determine the one that is most likely growing in that location.

“We think the app will be beneficial to the weekend gardener and even landscapers,” Smith said. “Maybe they see a picture of a plant they like in a magazine, or see something they like growing in a neighbor’s yard. They can just snap a picture, open the app and go to their local nursery knowing exactly what they’re looking for and not waste a lot of time.”

The app can be downloaded for free at http://greenthumbapp.com/.

Smith said Red Shark is planning a marketing campaign for Greenthumb. He said an Apple version of the app also is in the works.

“I think there are all kinds of applications for this technology,” Smith said. “Like, if you go fishing and catch a fish and you aren’t sure what kind of fish it is, just take its picture and you’ll know.”

– Steve Tuttle

 

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Event to benefit Food Bank

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ECU faculty and students will showcase creative writing in an event to benefit the Greenville Food Bank.

Faculty and staff will read from their work and two undergraduates will showcase work done in the introduction to creative writing class during a reading at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in Bate Building, Room 1032. Admission to the event is one nonperishable food item or donation.

Readers will include Julie Fay, Christy Hallberg, Marc Petersen, and Gina Betcher, along with undergraduates Monika Dunton and Sarah McKeever.

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Joyner staff member honored for commitment to education

Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor, University Advancement, Alan R. Bailey of Joyner Library, and Linda Patriarca, dean of the College of Education are pictured at the event. (Contributed photo)

Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor, University Advancement, Alan R. Bailey of Joyner Library, and Linda Patriarca, dean of the College of Education are pictured at the event. (Contributed photo)

Alan R. Bailey, head of the Teaching Resources Center, was one of the 26 educators inducted into East Carolina University’s Educators Hall of Fame on Oct. 18.  This honor recognizes individuals for their long-standing commitment and dedication to the field of education.  Bailey has served as an educator in North Carolina for 30 years, and has been an employee of Joyner Library since 2000.

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2014 Fall Career Fair set for Oct. 16

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East Carolina University will host the Fall Career Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at Minges Coliseum. More than 100 employers are expected at Minges to recruit ECU students for internships and job opportunities.

Students are encouraged to meet with a career counselor prior to the event for resume critique and success strategies. Attendees should also research companies registered to attend so they may demonstrate knowledge of companies in discussions with representatives.

On-campus students should bring an ECU OneCard for admittance. Alumni and distance education students should bring either an ECU OneCard, Banner ID, or e-mail address to the event. All attendees are required to be dressed in business professional attire for admittance.

Click here for additional information:

For questions contact the Career Center at www.ecu.edu/career, 252.328.6050  or career@ecu.edu

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Nominations sought for 2015 Alumni Award, due Nov. 1

The East Carolina Alumni Association seeks nominations for the 2015 Alumni Awards: the Virgil Clark ’50 Distinguished Service Awards, the Honorary Alumni Awards, and the Outstanding Alumni Awards. Nominations are accepted year-round, but the cut-off for 2015 is Nov. 1, 2014. Recipients must be present at Homecoming 2015 to receive an award.

– The Virgil Clark ’50 Distinguished Service Award goes to alumni who have given substantial volunteer service to the alumni association and/or university.

– The Honorary Alumni Award goes to those who did not attend ECU but who have adopted the university as their own through considerable service, commitment, and loyalty.

– The Outstanding Alumni Award, one of the most prestigious given by the university, goes to alumni who have made outstanding achievements in their profession and/or public affairs. A history of involvement with the university is not a prerequisite for this award.

Please note: only alumni can be nominated for the Distinguished Service and Outstanding Alumni awards. The only award for which non-alumni can be nominated is the Honorary Alumni Award.

Anyone can nominate an East Carolina alumnus or supporter for an award. Nominations consist of a one-page form and at least one letter of recommendation. While a surprise nomination is possible, nominators are encouraged to work directly with their nominees to ensure that all information submitted is complete and accurate. University trustees serving current terms, alumni association board members and their spouses, and current ECU employees are not eligible to receive these awards, but may submit nominations.

There are more than 155,000 East Carolina alumni living around the world. It is important that a wide variety of alumni and supporters are nominated. Every nomination is considered, as long as it is complete with all required documents and information. Awards can only be given to those who have been nominated!

The Alumni Awards program is vital to the alumni association’s goal of advancing the university. Honoring the service and achievements of alumni and supporters shows the value of an East Carolina education and the impact of this institution. This in turn increases acclaim and esteem for the university and draws ever more qualified students and faculty to campus, ensuring the university’s progress.

For more information, visit PirateAlumni.com/AwardsProcess or call 800-ECU-GRAD or contact Director of Alumni Programs Shawn Moore at 252-328-5775 or mooresh@ecu.edu.

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