Breaking News Emails
Can't tell the difference between a mistle thrush and a chaffinch, or a parakeet and a pigeon? Well, a mobile app is in the works that can identify birds from their songs.
Warblr, an audio-recognition app, could be available to British bird-watchers as soon as spring 2015. Users will record a bird's call on their smartphone, and within seconds receive the name of the most likely species.
Using its GPS mapping function, the app will display birds normally found in the area of the recording and match them up to the song. It will then list the top five most likely candidates.
In the U.K. alone, there are 596 species of wild birds, according to the British Trust for Omithology. For now, Warblr uses 88 of the U.K's most common species as a way of to generate "machine learning," whereby the app will be able to learn from these bird calls to generate more findings, according to Dan Stowell, Tech director and co-founder for the app.
The Warblr team have turned to Kickstarter to raise an extra £50,000 ($80,000) to build the app. So far they've raised over £4,000.
The two-partner co-founding team, CEO Florence Wilkinson and Stowell, have already won over Queen Mary University, London, which has given them a £10,000 grant.
Warblr isn't the first of its kind when it comes to sound recognition, with SoundHound, Shazam and many other mobile apps that identify songs from recorded sound bites.
There have already been other apps created to satisfy the bird-watching enthusiast, including online libraries of birdsongs and tracking devices.
Stowell added that he hopes Warblr will be like a "crowdsourcing project, whereby people submit their sightings into our database" and will generate thousands of sightings and recordings which can be used for conservation.
The partners have admitted on Kickstarter that what they're doing isn't easy, but "the more people use the app, and the more recordings/data we gather, the more accurate we'll become as our technology 'learns.'"
The app will be launched in Spring 2015, at the cost of £1.99 to all Apple and Android apps users in the U.K. If enough money and interest is raised, the co-founders hope to expand to North American audiences in the future.