Purdue using robot to digitize insect collection

(WLFI Photo, file)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University’s Department of Entomology is using a special robot to tackle the daunting task of digitizing the school’s collection of some 2 million insect specimens.

The robot, called BugEye, is an automated camera that’s being used to scan drawers full of insects in Purdue’s Entomological Research Collection using three-dimensional imaging.

The new digitizing system was designed and funded through a National Science Foundation project.

Assistant professor of entomology Jennifer Zaspel says some of Purdue’s insect specimens are more than a century old. She says the data collected by BugEye will help scientists trace the histories of both agricultural pests and threatened species and better understand how climate change and land use impact biodiversity.

BugEye will be showcased for the public on Dec. 5 during an event billed as “Labelpalooza.”

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