June 6, 2013
Smartphones hanging from trees will listen for the sounds of chainsaws to save Indonesian forests
A forest project that uses solar-powered smartphones hanging from trees to listen for the sounds of chainsaws could help stop illegal logging. New Scientist reports.
Non-profit Rainforest Connection, based in San Francisco, is launching a pilot project this month in the forests of Indonesia that uses modified Android smartphones to record and identify the sound-signatures of chainsaws.
... The phones are outfitted with solar panels specifically designed to take advantage of the brief periods when light reaches the forest floor. Their microphones stay on at all times, and software listens for the telltale growl of a chainsaw, which triggers an alert.
Initially, only rangers will be notified, but White hopes to release a free app that lets anyone receive real-time alerts with the audio that the phones pick up and the location. "We want to make people feel like they are taking part in the dramatic events on the front lines of environmental protection," he says.
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