The Forest Guardian won the first place in the battery-operated category of our “Combat Climate Change” contest. We at SensiML thought it was a very creative way to help combat climate change by detecting and reporting on instances of illegal logging.
Specifically, the Forest Guardian application works by using a solar-charged battery to power a small platform which listens to sounds emanating from the forest and then analyzes them using SensiML’s AI tools to detect either the sound of axes or of chainsaws. QuickLogic’s QuickFeather Development Kit provided the basic hardware and silicon platform for the project. The low power and open source nature of the kit, along with the EOS SoC and embedded microphone made it a good fit for the application. The SensiML tools and QuickLogic hardware and silicon were joined with a solar-powered charger and rechargeable Li-Ion battery and a Nordic Semiconductor power profiler kit to monitor power usage.
Whenever the Forest Guardian platform detects sounds, it wakes up, analyzes the sounds to determine if they are from axes or chainsaws, then sends an SMS message to the appropriate authorities with location information. In that way it helps automate the monitoring of potentially illegal forest clearing activity over a larger area without the need for direct human monitoring of the sounds.
We really liked this project for several reasons. First, saving forests from illegal logging is both a noble activity and a potentially effective way to help fight climate change. Second, using AI to separate the sound of axes and chainsaws from all of the other normal background noises in a forest is a great use of the technology. Third, the application is an excellent example of “edge IoT” as it is difficult to get much farther away from the core of a network than being in a forest. Finally, for obvious reasons each Forest Guardian platform must have limited power consumption so that the rechargeable battery has enough power to operate even after several overcast days.
After reviewing this project and all the documentation submitted, it was clear that a lot of thought and effort had gone into making this a practical and useful application of the available technology. So, for all those reasons, the judges chose this to be the winning battery powered application for fighting climate change.
See Winning Hackster Battery Powered Project Details:
A much more detailed description of the project is available on the hackster.io website
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