Need a jolt of real, live cuteness to brighten up a dull work day? London Zoo has just the thing for you. In a groundbreaking partnership with Google and British regulators Ofcom, the Zoological Society of London’s Whitespaces for Wildlife project uses small gaps in television frequencies to transmit live footage of the Zoo’s otters, meerkats and giant Galapagos tortoises to a central location, where the streams are then forwarded to YouTube. And it’s not just about the adorableness of it all; the developers hope that the technology might be used to monitor animals in the wild.
The small gaps between television broadcast frequencies are valuable because they can transmit data over greater distances than bluetooth and wifi, and are also better at crossing obstacles, such as walls. Google’s spectrum database ensures that there is no interference with frequencies that are already in use, and the Television Whitespace (TVWS) transmits high-definition footage of the animals 24 hours a day.
“Remote monitoring of wildlife is a vital conservation tool, from helping us to better understand species behavior,” project coordinator Louise Hartley explained while speaking to the BBC. “The prototype systems at ZSL London Zoo are already demonstrating that they can transmit high definition video over long distances, confirming their invaluable potential to use wireless connectivity to transform ZSL’s worldwide conservation work.”
In future, it’s hoped that the TVWS technology might be used to monitor not just wildlife behavior, but also illegal logging and poaching activities that post a threat to creatures in the wild.
Via The Independent
Lead image via Shutterstock