In the Czech Republic, late summer/early autumn is prime time for mushroom hunting. For Czechs, heading into the forest with a basket in hand isn’t just a casual pastime—it’s a national passion that is passed on to children from an early age.
A new Android app, launched this month by a team of Czech developers, has arrived just in time for mushroom season. Called Aplikaci na houby (Application for Mushrooms), it aims to impart that ages-old Czech mushroom wisdom into one handy mobile app.
With a representative selection of 210 major species of mushrooms, including detailed descriptions and quality photographs, Application for Mushrooms is a digital atlas of local fungi.
Come across a species you’re not familiar with? Point your phone’s camera at the specimen as neural networks use optical recognition to detect whether or not it’s a keeper.
“It should be stressed that the recognition results certainly cannot be wholly relied up – it’s just an interesting and useful tool,” says Vojtěch Kučera of Vocom, the studio that developed the app.
Kučera adds that future versions should allow users to upload pictures of their own finds in an effort to improve recognition results. A a bonus feature is its offline mode, ideal for use in forest locations where network coverage is weak.
Early users of the app are praising its graphics and accuracy, however, a number of reviewers are logging the same complaint: the app is only available in the English language.
So much for Czech tradition!