Object detection & Image classification are two of the most interesting and widely used applications of Computer Vision. Over the years, the multiple fold improvement in computing power and the introduction of some very interesting algorithms has made both these problems very easy to tackle.
Based on this confidence, we were very excited when one of our clients brought forth a very interesting idea. They wanted to count horn flies on dairy cattle. We did a little digging to find out that horn flies are a menace to cattle, specifically dairy cattle. They have been found to impact the health and milk production of cows tremendously. Horn flies were found to have single-handedly resulted in losses of almost $ 1.36 billion per year. Several methods to control horn flies’ population are in use currently. But they are expensive and sometimes excess use makes them ineffective in some horn fly populations. Therefore, the use of such methods has to be done judiciously, and only when the horn fly population has crossed a certain limit.
This brings us the next roadblock and our problem statement.
Counting horn flies settled on a cow.
Manual methods are inefficient, inaccurate, and cumbersome. The count can greatly vary by the time a person completes counting the flies. Capturing high-quality images, and then dividing them into grids to assist with manual counting is not a great improvement.
Can we count horn flies settled on a cow using Computer Vision?
This was the question posed to us by our client. It was intriguing, challenging, and perfect to whet our appetite for interesting problems.