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Rainforest Connection is an online system that was developed to inform park rangers protecting rainforests of illegal deforestation activities. The platform fits discarded smartphones with solar panels and utilizes a custom app to to generate real-time data on deforestation activity. The system has the potential to recycle old smartphones while helping environmentalists in ecologically vulnerable areas combat illegal logging.

Rainforest Connection, solar power, illegal logging, deforestation, smartphones, androidPhoto via Shutterstock

The smartphones utilize and app to monitor audio frequencies across areas of protected rainforest. If it detects, for example the whirl of a chainsaw, then it will send alerts to the authorities.

The non-profit organization’s pilot project will be deployed in western Sumatra where a series of 15 modified Android smartphones will be placed within the huge (25,000 hectare) Air Tarusan reserve. The phones will then listen for any chainsaw motors within a .5 km radius.

As they are solar-powered, the devices will continuously monitor for audible frequencies  and abnormal signals (i.e. chainsaw frequencies). If any are detected, they will be transmitted to an internet-based central database.

Alerts will be generated in real-time and sent to responsible agents in the forest, enabling quick intervention by authorities. It is hoped that the data generated from the pilot project will allow for software developers to build real-time apps.

In doing so, according to Rainforest Connection’s website, “rainforest surveillance becomes a low-cost, crowd-sourced, scalable endeavor, and we are able to tap the unlimited resources of a growing worldwide population of tech-savvy eco-enthusiasts.”

You can help by donating your old Android phone via the Rainforest Connection Facebook page.

+ Rainforest Connection

via Tree Hugger

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