A UW-Madison researcher has developed a method for identifying insect infestations in plants, giving farmers a potential new tool for protecting their crops.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is touting the invention as a top licensing prospect in the food and agriculture sector.

Assistant Prof. Emily Bick has created a machine-learning algorithm that uses audio signals from microphones to find infestations — including bugs that bore into the plant’s structure, which are difficult to identify without destroying the crops. She is a specialist in precision pest ecology for field and forage crops in the university’s Department Entomology.

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