Old, unwanted Android cell phones could be put to work in rainforests as solar-powered listening stations capable of detecting the noise of chainsaws in real time, alerting local agencies so they can catch illegal logging in the act. A Kickstarter project by the Rainforest Connection startup is currently seeking funding to deploy devices that give a new life to potential electronic waste and help save the rainforest (and fight climate change) at the same time.
The devices, made using upcycled cell phones and solar panels from discarded crystalline silicon fragments, will be hidden all over the forest canopy to detect chainsaws from up to a kilometer away. They're also capable of recognizing gunshots and animal distress calls to prevent poaching.
Each device can cover an area of the forest that could be home to 1,000 species of plants and animals and enables immediate intervention in an emergency. The Rainforest Connection hopes to raise $100,000 over the next 30 days to cover at least 200-300 kilometers of forest in Brazil and Africa, and if that goal is exceeded, they'll add extra features, the the ability for mobile users to listen in on the ambient sounds on the rainforest in real time from their smartphones.
The Kickstarter offers rewards at various price points, from t-shirts for lower amounts all the way up to buying your very own device.