According to the Interpol, carbon dioxide emissions due to deforestation contribute about 17% of total carbon dioxide emissions. The main reason of deforestation is an illegal logging activity. There are quite a number of technologies which are being used to protect the forest regions, but Rainforest Connection (RFCx) is different from others. The reason is that, RFCx addresses two pertinent issues - illegal cutting of forests and disposal of smartphones. You might be wondering, how can RFCx solve both the issues? The answer is that RFCx is a first real-time detection system which uses recycled smartphones to protect remote forests from illegal logging and poaching activities.
The smartphones (at present only android phones) are first recycled and then transformed into self-governing solar-powered listening device. Then, the device is hidden high in the tree canopy. This device can capture and report the sounds of destructive activities like gunshots, chainsaws and distress calls of animals from a great distance. It streams the data and immediately sends it to cloud server which in turn sends an SMS alert to the first responders. Rainforest Connection mobile app can be used by an average person to listen to the noises of rain forest in real time. The app will be released in late 2014.
In 2013, Rainforest Connection system was successfully tested by RFCx team in Western Sumatra, Indonesia. The technology used autonomous, highly-sensitive microphones to prove its viability against illegal loggers and poachers.
The device shown in the press release is solely for display purpose. The actual hidden device is not disclosed yet. If the illegal loggers or poachers find the device, a theft-detection routine in the device will send an alert to the local authorities. The device works on a very minimal GSM coverage. Some areas of rainforest do have GSM coverage. In the future, the team will explore partnerships with the companies having devices that can be used to transmit GSM signals in the areas having poor signals. According to RFCx team, each device installed is equivalent to taking 3,000 cars off the road in terms of carbon mitigations which will take place due to aversion of logging activities.
The Kickstarter campaign for Rainforest Connection project has so far raised $16,510 of its goal of raising $100,000 with 32 days left for the campaign.