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Technology

Dakota Midday: SDSU Testing Insect Scanning Robot

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SDSU
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A robot that scans a tray of insect specimens in a few minutes is being tested at South Dakota State University's Severin-McDaniel Insect Research Collection. The scanning robot will help make the virtual images and tagging information available to the public online at invertnet.org, as well as national and international websites.

The work is part of a 10-year, $100 million National Science Foundation grant to capture images and specimen data from millions of natural history specimens at institutions throughout the country and to provide greater information access to researchers and other stakeholders. The InvertNet Project, led by the University of Illinois in Champaign, involves 21 other universities and two natural history museums, one in Milwaukee and the other in Pittsburgh, together containing more than 60 million specimens.

The project seeks to create a database of the specimens in natural history collections, automatically transcribe the data on the specimen labels and take digital images of each specimen. SDSU entomologist Paul Johnson is director of the Severin-McDaniel Insect Research Collection. He says that by using advanced imaging technologies they'll have 3-D explorable files for analysis.

Johnson joined Dakota Midday and discussed the scanning robot.

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