Junior Targets Plant Disease With New App, PlantifyDr

Junior Targets Plant Disease With New App, PlantifyDr

Junior Alex Lavaee has combined a love of technology with a new passion for plants to create his new app, PlantifyDr. 

“I first came up with the idea of PlantifyDr four months ago after a lot of our family friends who had picked up gardening during quarantine told us about the problems they were having with the leaves of their plants in their gardens and how they didn’t know how to diagnose and treat them,” Lavaee said. “My curiosity was piqued so I went researching and found out that food insecurity caused by plant diseases is a huge problem in the world and I just wanted to make a positive difference.”

The app, which he plans to submit to the U.S. Congressional App Challenge, uses Machine Learning Object Detection to determine leaf diseases in common plants (i.e. apples, bell peppers, cherries, corn, grapes, peaches, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes) from an uploaded or taken photo. In addition to being able to diagnose these common diseases, the app also allows users the ability to look up a treatment plan for each disease. 

The free app took Lavaee about three months to build and is available both on iOS and Android devices. 

Lavaee said he believes his app can make a genuine positive difference in the world.

“Billions of dollars are lost in the U.S. alone and a staggering 20%-40% of the global crop production is lost every year,” Lavaee said. “I knew that farmers relied on crops to make a living and feed their families and so I wanted to see how I could help.”

In the future, Lavaee said he would like to add even more plants to future updates. 

If I were to create a 2.0 version of my app, I would also create a database where all the images of plants the user inputted would be submitted to my existing database to improve the accuracy of my model,” he said.

Lavaee has shared his app with Dr. Todd Haney and the members of the Garden Crew at Sage Hill for testing and use.

“I’m excited to see how they can use it to their benefit,” he said.

Right now, Lavaee is hoping to get as many people to download, test and leave reviews for his app. 

“I hope my work inspires students in the Sage community to come up with intuitive solutions to important problems,” he said.

To see more about how PlantifyDr works, click here.


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