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Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

A nonprofit called Rainforest Connection has proposed a unique use for recycled smartphones.

Just funded on Kickstarter, their campaign seeks to use old phones and turn them into live listening devices for rainforest areas. They take the secondhand phones and turn them into devices that can be used to detect the unlawful poaching activity and logging that occurs in the rainforest.

Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

Illegal deforestation and poaching is an issue that contributes to many other problems.

Unlawful logging is responsible for reducing rainforest habitats and further endangering some species. The damages extend beyond the rainforest also. As much as 10% of greenhouse gas emissions are believed to be caused by illegal logging in tropical forests.

Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

The devices are made from systems of miscellaneous parts from solar panels and Android phones that can detect the noise made by chainsaws more than a mile away, and smartphones are normally connected to a nearly global network so it is fairly wide ranging.

They contain powerful and sensitive microphones that can pick up even small signals. Noises are sent to the server to be examined and if the sound of the noise is found harmful the alarm will be dispatched.

Conservationists and workers in the area can hear the signal, responding to the threat.This setup allows immediate response, unlike satellite images which can take days to report back.

Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

The phones are kept in a plastic box to protect them are and perched up in the treetops so that they are concealed.

Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

They use solar power to keep charged, which sometimes is not as strong as normal in these types of areas since the signal strength is subdued by the thick canopies of the rainforests. This problem was adjusted for by placing strips of solar panels into a petal shaped design to capture and conduct the most energy.

According to the developer, a mobile app that will allow project backers to stream the live sounds of the rainforests in the Amazon and Africa will be released later this year. Check out the rainforest sounds on their website from their systems that are setup in Sumatra.

The Rainforest Connection also accepts applicable smartphone donations. According to founder Topher White, 150 million cell phones are thrown out each year in the U.S.

Recycled Phones And The Rainforest Connection

All images are from the Rainforest Connection.

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