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Topher White has created a device that turns old cellphones into a rainforest monitoring system, using sensitive microphones and the dirt-cheap mobile plans available overseas, while the whole rig is powered by a simple solar array for long-term independent operation. He’s effectively used the system to thwart illegal logging in Indonesia, detecting the presence of chainsaws in a protected forest on the second day of the projects installation.

Now, he’s on the tail end of a wildly successful Kickstarter project to bring the system to other remote jungles and forests. It hasn’t been widely publicized, but one of the most interesting rewards he’s recently added is a “Maker’s Kit” to turn your old cell phone into one of these devices.

I’m curious to see what other environmental problems or phenomena makers will use this kit for. What would you listen for?


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Learn more about Rainforest Connection on their Kickstarter page.

David Lang

David Lang

Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!

  • David Ngugi

    Reblogged this on Tinkertap and commented:
    Hey guys, I found these great innovative idea at in which you can use an old phone (ideos actually) to create an all hearing ear for forest conservation or even better, spying (just kidding).