Objectives

Medicinal plant Database construction: collect image dataset + Enumerate, curate and associate labeling metadata about pharmaceuticals virtues. Building a comprehensive database requires that teams are spread out to investigate various sources of information (e.g., existing literature) as well as some well-known traditional healers to collect information and precisely label them. Then the collected data is merged and curated.

Develop and Operationalize a Detection and Search engine for medicinal plants. Leverage the built database to implement Artificial Intelligence technology for recognizing plants based on leaves photographs. Build an “Information Retrieval”-based search engine on top of natural language descriptions in the database to enable scalable search of preserved knowledge.

Long-term vision

As Amadou Hampâté Bâ 1960 said while addressing UNESCO members in 1960, “in Africa, when an old man dies, it’s a library burning”. This is particularly true today when we debate on the virtue of plants for disease therapy. A substantial amount of knowledge is being lost due to a lack of proper preservation in digital, searchable and reusable databases. With this project, we aim to make the preservation of ethnopharmacological Knowledge in the Sahel an ultimate target. To that end, we propose to initiate the construction of a medicinal plant database on top of which a search engine and an AI-based image recognition for plants could help serve a large panel of users.