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  • José H. Leal

Shell App Creator is 2018 Volunteer of the Year!



At the recent March 19 Volunteer Recognition luncheon, Executive Director Dorrie Hipschman, assisted by Outreach Coordinator Leigh Gay, awarded the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award to Bill Emerson. A software engineer and entrepreneur, Bill developed, as a gift to the Museum, the new shell identification application for smart phones. Bill took a special interest and appreciation for the Museum after his wife Arlene Drack graduated as a Museum Shell Ambassador in 2017. He, engineer Meindert Niemeijer, and associates worked thousands of hours developing the Artificial Intelligence app for iPhone that allows for quick identification of 65 Southwest Florida species (with more to come). In simple terms, the app compares a shell photo to thousands of images of local species, returning the name of the one that best fits the image sent. By incorporating the user-generated photos of correctly identified species into the existing pool of images for that species, the app becomes more accurate with increase in use. Droid phone user? A version for Android operating systems is due soon. Read more about the Shell Museum app here. (Photo by Melanie Moraga.)