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GoMicro is an AgTech phone microscope company driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to provide accurate, affordable and instant diagnostics for agricultural pests and diseases.
It is currently time-consuming and costly for farmers to identify pests and plant diseases accurately through the conventional method of laboratory testing. Globalisation and global warming are causing a rapid increase in new pests and leaf disease in Australia.
International trade and travel increase the risk of pests and diseases being transferred from other countries to Australia. Climate change is also altering the spatial distribution of these threats as warmer climates allow them to spread farther than before.
Some pests and plant diseases are easily identifiable by experienced farmers, but there are still many that require more in-depth analysis and cannot be identified by the naked eye. Two recent examples of introduced pests include the Russian Wheat Aphid which can devastate wheat and barley plants resulting in heavy crop losses as well as the Marmorated Stink Bug which looks very similar to other native and harmless bug species.
Recently, the capabilities of AI-based imagery applications have improved rapidly. GoMicro is building a practical application of AI in agriculture with the aim to help farms minimise crop losses from pests and diseases.
To make this technology readily accessible to farmers, GoMicro is developing an integrated solution; a clip-on phone microscope and AI identification platform. This will allow farmers to quickly diagnose a wide range of insects and plant diseases through exceptional magnification and accuracy.
Additionally, farmers can use GoMicro to capture high-quality images and share them with agronomists who can provide further advice, accelerating the response time and reducing potential crop destruction.
GoMicro is focused on generating revenue through the direct sale of clip-on microscopes to farmers (B2C) with access to a range of apps. They also aim to generate additional revenue through application sales to agricultural companies that want to provide eradication services or alternatively, the direct sale of insecticides, herbicides and other related products to farmers.
This service should allow GoMicro to rapidly expand its addressable market. In the future, GoMicro aims to integrate services with existing farm management apps.
A generic version of GoMicro is also available for sale via Amazon Australia which GoMicro will promote via social media marketing to generate additional revenue.
GoMicro’s competitive advantage is its higher accuracy of detection than existing apps.
AI solutions often have issues detecting objects in varied light. One study found an accuracy drop in testing from approximately 99% to 31% when using AI on images taken in the field rather than in a lab.
GoMicro aims to overcome these issues through the pairing of both a microscope and AI engine. GoMicro is unique in providing farmers with a solution they can use themselves.
GoMicro also has the scope to apply their established technology to a wide range of issues in agriculture and other sectors providing significant potential for expansion. This gives GoMicro the first-mover advantage as well as a unique position in both the phone microscopy and AI market.
GoMicro have sold over 1500 microscopes in the last 15 months with the majority of customers based in the agricultural sector.
Feedback from customers has been widely positive. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) quoted: “GoMicro is a fantastic new tool for farmers and agronomists to assist with identifying pests and beneficial insects in field crops”, and another customer quoted: “I don’t know how good your eyes are but I was sick of not being able to identify small insects in the paddock. But that’s all changed thanks to GoMicro”.
GoMicro's AI-based microscope is patent-pending and they have begun offering test kits to a wide range of organisations and early adopters.
GoMicro started out as an educational technology venture founded by Dr. Sivam Krish and Jarrad Law. After discovering a strong interest in microscopes from the agricultural sector in 2018, they started working on an AI engine with a custom-built microscope. Since then, they have been developing their AI-powered field microscopy platform.
GoMicro’s first AI engine is targeted to identifying Queensland Fruit Flies, for which they have achieved an accuracy of 90% in an initial test for identifying male vs female flies, and over 90% accuracy for fruit flies vs other flies using a small test sample of fewer than 50 insects in each category.
GoMicro will introduce their AI microscope and application to the agricultural industry over a number of stages.
Firstly, they aim to interest early adopters on a wide range of niche identification problems. They have begun offering test kits to these early adopters alongside a wide range of organisations who wish to Beta test the AI microscope and application.
These initial tests will enable GoMicro to effectively assess the accuracy of test applications and their performance will be further improved with more images and training until it satisfies the accuracy levels required by an agronomist. Through this testing stage, they aim to build a broad application and user base prior to the product being launched to market.
Next, GoMicro plans to partner with relevant fertiliser and insecticide companies to promote identification solutions as they begin to create product sales opportunities with them. Additionally, they aim to work with agriculture companies that have networks of agronomists to assist in the development of AI application solutions and the promotion of these products throughout the agricultural community.
During this time, GoMicro aim to sell microscopes through agricultural retailers. They also plan to approach agricultural associations to promote the product through their networks, establishing relevant promotional pricing and develop AI apps that are relevant to their specific crops.
To develop digital acquisition, GoMicro will create a substantial amount of imagery from their microscopes, which will be used for content marketing via Twitter and other social media channels.
GoMicro’s vision is for the company to undergo a trade sale in the next 3-5 years, targeting major players in the agricultural sector. They are also building relationships with several venture capital firms for future funding rounds.
Sivam is an engineer and innovator. Sivam holds a PhD from Cambridge University in Engineering and BEng from MIT. He has been a leader in emerging technologies for over 20 years, and was a pioneer in 3-D printing in the early 2000s and artificial intelligence in more recent years.
Jarrad is a software engineer with a passion for mobile applications. He holds a BEng and BSc (CS) from Flinders University. He worked as a software and web developer for over 10 years prior to co-founding GoMicro.
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