Gardin, an agricultural technology company based in Oxfordshire, England, makes an automated sensor that measures plant health, known as "plant-driven growing."

The sensor collects real-time data about the plants and generates performance alerts and growth insights. With the agriculture industry facing a labor shortage, the technology can help cover the shortfall in workers.

Situation analysis
Gardin's sensors measure plant health with a technique called chlorophyll fluorescence, which monitors how well a plant is photosynthesizing and assesses its level of stress. While this method can detect whether a plant is healthy or not, it can't precisely identify what is causing the plant stress. The team at Gardin wanted to expand the platform's capabilities so it could classify specific diseases early on.

In order to do this, the team would need to build a machine-learning algorithm. However, Julian Godding, lead data scientist at Gardin, told Business Insider that getting an algorithm to classify plant diseases is "very, very challenging to do." The reason? "There's just so little data," he said.