Animal poaching is on the rise as people find interest in ivory, fur, skins and more for their financial value. Previous technologies have tried to capture poachers in the act, but often failed because the poachers could ping cell towers and find (and avoid) the tracking technology. Now, Intel is debuting a smart system of cameras that relies on radio frequencies and artificial intelligence to catch the criminals and save the wildlife. We gave this technology a go at CES 2019, and here is how it works.

person walking through dark leafy area

Intel’s new TrailGuard uses “AI for social good.” This technology is powering cameras with artificial intelligence to stop illegal poachers in their tracks. Each camera is hidden in natural areas where wild animal poaching is common. The cameras use motion sensors that, once triggered, turn the cameras on to start recording nearby activity.

Related: Mass poaching in Botswana leaves behind 90 tuskless elephants

dark grassy area

feed of different cameras

Because the cameras use artificial intelligence, they can tell the difference between the movement of, say, an animal or wind and specific human activity, such as poacher’s body language or clothing.

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small technology pieces

At CES 2019, these cameras were installed in a dark area designed to mimic nature. Even if you walk carefully, you are no match for these smart cameras. In the low light, it’s nearly impossible to find the cameras, and because they run on radio frequencies, poachers cannot pinpoint and avoid them. But the recordings capture a clear view of poachers, making it easier for authorities to end these activities and save more animals’ lives.

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plants at night

In addition to being showcased at CES 2019, the TrailGuard technology is also being deployed in the Congo.

+ Intel

Photography by Inhabitat