Background: Insects are vital components of natural and agricultural ecosystems that interact with plants in complex ways. Monitoring can help us understand these interactions to improve crop production, and to assist us to sustain our natural ecosystems as we change the Earth's climate. This technology is vital to inform our strategies to protect global food supplies and manage our national parks and forests.
Bees, wasps and flies are needed to pollinate our crops and wildflowers. Butterflies and moths can be excellent flower pollinators, but their caterpillars can completely eat through young crop plants. Wasps sometimes sting humans, but some species make excellent bio-control agents that hunt for caterpillars on our crops, saving the crop's leaves from being eaten to the stem. The world of plant-insect interactions is complex! How can we understand what will happen to these systems? How can we help make sure they are managed sustainably?
This project will develop a new component to our previous research on monitoring technology for insect-plant interactions. It will enable the use of edge-compute monitoring devices, acting in collaboration across wide areas, to continuously follow the path of a flying insect as it moves from the video-frame of one device to that of a neighbouring device. This technology will help us to explore how to improve greenhouse crop production by boosting pollination, enhancing natural bio-control agent behaviour, and suppress insects pests. This will help us to grow more food, use less chemicals, and reduce our impact on the environment.
Aim: To develop communication software that operates between edge-compute insect tracking devices that operates such that when an insect is predicted to be leaving the view of one edge-compute device, a neighbouring device is alerted to look out for the insect's arrival at its frame boundary.
Computer programming (e.g. C++ Python or other languages) and experience with basic image processing
An interest (but not necessarily formal qualifications) in ecology, insects, plants, sustainability or food production
Linux Shell Scripting is a plus.
Experience of working with Raspberry Pis is a plus.
Curiosity is required!