U-Infuse: Democratization of Customizable AI for Object Detection [article]

Andrew Shepley, Greg Falzon, Christopher Lawson, Paul Meek, Paul Kwan
<span title="2020-10-02">2020</span> <i title="Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory"> bioRxiv </i> &nbsp; <span class="release-stage" >pre-print</span>
Image data is one of the primary sources of ecological data used in biodiversity conservation and management worldwide. However, classifying and interpreting large numbers of images is time and resource expensive, particularly in the context of camera trapping. Deep learning models have been used to achieve this task but are often not suited to specific applications due to their inability to generalise to new environments and inconsistent performance. Models need to be developed for specific
more &raquo; ... cies cohorts and environments, but the technical skills required to achieve this are a key barrier to the accessibility of this technology to ecologists. There is a strong need to democratise access to deep learning technologies by providing an easy to use software application allowing non-technical users to custom train custom object detectors. U-Infuse addresses this issue by putting the power of AI into the hands of ecologists. U-Infuse provides ecologists with the ability to train customised models using publicly available images and/or their own camera trap images, without the constraints of annotating and pre-processing large numbers of images, or specific technical expertise. U-Infuse is a free and open-source software solution that supports both multiclass and single class training and inference, allowing ecologists to access state of the art AI on their own device, customised to their application without sharing IP or sensitive data. U-Infuse provides ecological practitioners with the ability to (i) easily achieve camera trap object detection within a user-friendly GUI, generating a species distribution report, and other useful statistics, (ii) custom train deep learning models using publicly available and custom training data, (iii) achieve supervised auto-annotation of images for further training, with the benefit of editing annotations to ensure quality datasets. Broad adoption of U-Infuse by ecological practitioners will improve camera trap image analysis and processing by allowing significantly more image data to be processed with minimal expenditure of time and resources. Ease of training and reliance on transfer learning means domain-specific models can be trained rapidly, and frequently updated without the need for computer science expertise, or data sharing, protecting intellectual property and privacy.
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