Purdue to showcase robot digitizing insect collection

November 26, 2014  


Jennifer Zaspel, assistant professor, and Jeffrey Holland, associate professor, both in the Purdue Department of Entomology, pose with the robot called BugEye. Using 3-D imaging, BugEye is an automated camera used to scan entire drawers of insects in Purdue's Entomological Research Collection. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell )
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's Department of Entomology will showcase a robot that can digitize insects and collection data as part of the department's 2 million-specimen collection on Dec. 5 in an event billed as "Labelpalooza."

The robot, called BugEye, is an automated camera that is used to scan drawers of insects in Purdue’s Entomological Research Collection by 3-D imaging. The system was designed and funded through the National Science Foundation project "InvertNet - An Integrative Platform for Research on Environmental Change, Species Discovery and Identification."

Although a small portion of the collection has already been scanned as part of this project, 1,500 drawers housing more than 1 million specimens still must be digitized. Students and staff from the entomology department will help label at least 60 drawers of insects in preparation to be scanned.

The public is invited to watch the activity in Smith Hall from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., during which time the specimens will be displayed for viewing. Normally, the specimens are stored in drawers in closed specimen cabinets.

Heading the project are Jennifer Zaspel, assistant professor of entomology, and Jeffrey Holland, associate professor of entomology.

"Some specimen data are greater than 100 years old, allowing us to document and trace the histories of both agricultural pests and threatened species," Zaspel said. "The data captured will also help us understand the impacts of climate change and land use on biodiversity." 

Writer: Emma Hopkins, 765-494-8402, hopkine@purdue.edu 

Source: Jennifer Zaspel, 765-494-4599, jzaspel@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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