Using the power of computer-vision artificial intelligence and millions of observations from amateur taxonomists, Seek can identify plants, animals, fungi and more – just open your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch camera and, in seconds, find out the name of the organism.
Seek works in real time, even before you’ve snapped a picture. Train your lens on a leaf, say, and watch as its augmented reality view first broadly recognises its category, like identifying the plant as a dicot. As you move around to get an angle that more clearly differentiates the plant from other species, you’re rewarded with an exact match.
If you’re not a botanist or zoologist – or maybe even if you are – you’ll be amazed how quickly the unknown world of your backyard comes into focus. What exactly is that weed or wildflower, anyway? Is that snake just a common Carpet Python or something more sinister? If you’ve got a clear picture, Seek can likely tell you (just don’t get too close).
Once the app has identified the object and provided both its common and scientific names, you can read a summary, view a map of its range, learn its full taxonomy and explore similar organisms that have been discovered nearby.
It’s also great for kids. As well as bringing learning to life, the app gamifies the hunt for new flora and fauna, with badges on offer for intrepid explorers who look for more species.
Built around an ever-growing database curated by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, Seek will help you learn about everything from that butterfly which regularly lands in your garden to the funky-looking fern you spotted on your weekend walk. Who wants to go exploring?