Hyderabad: Old smartphones may be remodelled and aided with solar power and machine learning which could probably be used to detect illegal logging in forest.
Google is testing out whether smartphones, aided with its latest technology TensorFlow, can stop deforestation. The device created by students from old smartphones have been altered to solar-powered listening tools. This is done by using Google’s open source machine learning framework TensorFlow.
While trees are cut down not following regulations, it gets traded as timber. Furthermore, ecological destruction occurs if loggers fell down trees in protected forest areas.
As part of Planet Guardians programme by Global NGO Rainforest Connection, it took the help of middle school students in building solar-powered listening devices using old smartphones. They are installed high on trees in the world’s most fragile rainforests.
These smartphones will capture any sounds of illegal logging and alert forest rangers in real time. As the device can transmit sound data in real-time, through a free mobile app, the students can keep a tab.
If the machine learning programme discovers any familiar or important sounds, be it of an endangered species or illegal logging, a text alert will be sent to the students. This data will also be given to local forest rangers and universities that study endangered species.
This will be installed this month in Peru, Brazil and Indonesia and are expected to protect nearly 1,00,000 acres of forest by the year 2020.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted in a tweet, “Always inspired by the cool and impactful things people are building with TensorFlow. In this case, helping to detect illegal logging activity in Amazonian rainforests GoogleAI (sic).”
However, the forest officials in India pointed out that while the concept is certainly commendable, it may impact wild life habitat. A forest department official said, “We did not get any such proposal and no one approached us. We haven’t concluded about the impact cell phone radiations might cause to wildlife. Even if such a proposal comes up, we may not go ahead immediately before weighing the impact of the devices on wildlife”....