These award-winning, solar-powered audio recorders, built on Raspberry Pi, have been installed in the Borneo rainforest so researchers can listen to the local ecosystem 24/7. The health of a forest ecosystem can often be gaged according to how much noise it creates, as this signals how many species are around.
And you can listen to the rainforest too! The SAFE Acoustics website, funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), streams audio from recorders placed around a region of the Bornean rainforest in Southeast Asia. Visitors can listen to live audio or skip back through the day’s recording, for example to listen to the dawn chorus.
- Raspberry Pi A+ with an Anker USB hub OR Raspberry Pi B
- Sensor of choice:
- 64GB microSD card
- 12V-to-5V micro USB converter
- Huawei E3531 3G dongle
- 1m USB extension cable (generic)
- USB-to-micro USB cable (generic)
- 20–30W solar panel (generic, wattage dependant on environment)
- Solar charge controller
- 12V deep-cycle battery
The device records data in the field and uploads it to a central server continuously and robustly over long time-periods. And it was built for around $305.
Here’s all the code for the platform, on GitHub.
The Imperial College London team behind the project has provided really good step-by-step photo instructions for anyone interested in the fine details.
The recorders have been installed by Imperial College London researchers as part of the SAFE Project – one of the largest ecological experiments in the world.
Dr Sarab Sethi designed the audio recorders with Dr Lorenzo Picinali. They wanted to quantify the changes in rainforest soundscape as land use changes, for example when forests are logged. Sarab is currently working on algorithms to analyse the gathered data with Dr Nick Jones from the Department of Mathematics.
Let the creators of the project tell you more on the Imperial College London website.