Turn Your Old Cell Phones into DIY Environmental Listening Devices to Stop Illegal Logging

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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.

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!

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