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ARMADA Smartphone-Based Hyperspectral System from Galileo Group for Agri-Science Applications and Research

Galileo Group, Inc. announces the launch of the ARMADA™ smartphone-based hyperspectral system for agri-science applications and research, opening the way for generational improvement capabilities in phenotyping, disease detection and experimental plant characterization and modeling.

A new technology with far-reaching capabilities, ARMADA™ is in launch readiness to provide real-time status analyses regarding crop health to include possible nutrient adjustments, weed identifications, herbicide applications and more from the palm of your hand. The data collected by ARMADA™ can be sent remotely to an office, lab or home computer from the field for immediate scrutiny, so the user may consider an appropriate and timely response for overall crop robustness. This technology is as applicable to the average large-scale farmer concerned with maximizing seasonal crop production as it is to a home gardener's interest in pest- and disease-free vegetables, and has uses far beyond industrialized nations.

Whether you're a farmer, agronomist, horticulturist or botanist, ARMADA's™ smartphone hyperspectral system makes it as easy as taking a picture of your target objective in order to acquire the desired data. The potential to users for early-stage disease detection can save millions of dollars in potential lost crops were those infiltrations not detected otherwise or until appropriate responses employed.

Galileo Group, Inc., a US-based firm, has successfully extended core elements of its airborne optical, processing and analytical capabilities to the common smartphone. This root approach yields new levels of biologically useful data and informatics using the everyday smartphone as a remote sensing system. The experimental system includes multi-spectral and multi-temporal capabilities. Commercial, off-the-shelf smartphones enable the potential for massive deployment capability with: low-capital equipment investment, a standardized collection methodology and global reach.

"Remote sensing has long been associated with systems yielding vast informatics," Michael Barnes, CEO and founder of Galileo Group, Inc., said from the firm's offices in Melbourne, Florida on Tuesday. "High costs have limited the widespread use of hyperspectral remote sensing technology in more practical, mainstream markets where scale, repetition and expense matter. We feel by bringing everyday smartphones into the equation the marketplace for remote sensing technology can be greatly expanded."

Additional modification hardware or supplementation boosting components, turn ARMADA™ into a hyperspectral remote sensing system and make it possible to further enhance the range of smartphone detection capabilities and broaden the application spectrum for general or customized use.

Modern agriculture seeks to digitize many conventional processes and procedures in the industry. The design of the ARMADA™ system addresses a very pressing demand in this transformation: direct user engagement for independent farmers on local scale.

On a wider scale, Galileo envisions thousands of smartphone-based remote sensing systems deployed regularly in the field for the purpose of data collection to be stored in a massive agricultural information database. Galileo's creators believe this approach to collection translates to endless opportunities for information gathering. And since data processing is handled on US-based central servers, Galileo looks to safeguard data stocks regardless of whether collections emanate from domestic- or foreign-based ARMADA™ sources.

"ARMADA™ facilitates the evolution of conventional farming into low-cost scaled digital agriculture," Dr. Thorsten Mewes, project science lead for ARMADA™, said. "Data driven decisions are now in the hands of the farmer, researcher, or advisor, as opposed to third parties. Mount your smartphone on a drone to collect broad-scope detailed imagery or use your phone with the spectral transmitter on the ground to collect single-plant or leaf-specific visual data from the field. The data is then sent to a central server for database matching and advanced analysis, to turn the data into information and ultimately knowledge. The system is tested and mission-ready. We are now in the mode of identifying and developing different application paths to optimize the system for specific uses."

However, biological targets are complex phenomena, Barnes noted.

To truly measure and analyze biological subject matter, a robust set of algorithmic tools are needed on a single technological platform, preferably complemented by onboard sensor characterizations that factor for variables like illumination requirements and background noise. With all of this in mind, working together on one technological platform, ARMADA™ generates the greatest results in data collected from observables.

"In our experience, most of the smartphone apps out there have limited functionality," Barnes continued. "They are typically only one portion of a larger challenge to incorporate true remote sensing principles from sensor collection and characterization as a whole. By incorporating these principles into one calibrated process workflow, with accompanying completed analytics -- just as Galileo does with our more advanced airborne systems -- ARMADA™ will change the marketplace. By providing a true remote-sensing product based on our hyperspectral and geospatial technology using the smartphone as a foundational common platform, our goal is to make ARMADA's™ uses more accessible to anyone, or any corporation. This use is especially relevant where multi-temporal monitoring is key during select growth stages or for early stage disease detection."

This core approach can be exponentially improved using smartphones directly operated by the grower. Now in our 20th year of operation as an airborne service provider, Galileo executives and scientists felt there was an unmet need in the client business marketplace with respect to mobile and distributed data collection scenarios. Galileo's own clients requested increasing amounts of low-cost data they could collect themselves and have our analysts process for their continued reference and use.

"Given our success in the airborne sector, we felt we could apply that experience to expand to smartphone-based architecture in a changing world, but we had to do so in a repeatable, scientific manner in order to have true detection utility," Barnes continued. "Key to this is scale use. As a result, we designed and built our first-generation hyperspectral smartphone systems specifically at low-price points in order to leverage scale at the user level. We believe our clients and growers should collect, own and access their data, trusting it through first-hand use and providing inputs on what works and what is still needed. We look forward to working with progressive launch partners and investors in transitioning ARMADA™ to select trial use and evolving methodically to scale-field operations."


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