Studio Graphene contact us link
our blog

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

At Studio Graphene we’re always looking at ways we can use technology to bring new ideas to life. Over the last 12 months we have been exploring various proof of concepts that not only aim to have a positive impact on the world, but help us evolve and enhance our own skills and capabilities as a digital product studio. 

One such opportunity came about following discussions surrounding our client’s platform idea that looked to build a sound detection and alerting system designed to be installed in remote areas like a dense forest, safari park or nature reserve.

Goals and aims

The platform’s overall aim was to install devices that could regularly monitor and detect any sounds that can potentially be a hazard for the natural ecosystem (be that wildlife or vegetation), giving early warning signals to alert rangers or emergency services - for example the sound of a forest fire, a gunshot or vehicle noise from poachers or machinery indicating possible illegal deforestation. 

Upon detection, an alert could be sent to the ground control team along with necessary details. Getting this information to the central control team as close to real time as possible to analyse so they can take rapid action without delay was a key requirement.

Challenges

Throughout our various brainstorms it was clear there were several challenges we had to overcome including:

Hardware solution - RPi 3

During the early stages of development, our team selected the RPi 3 as one of the latest models that could be used for the purpose owing to its performance, moderate price range (£70 for each RPi 3 setup) and easy-to-use features.

Another added advantage was that unlike other alternatives, RPi 3 did not demand any additional effort while assembling the different ports to the board.  

Here is a snapshot of what RPi 3 looked like in the hands of our developers post assembly

Software solution

So with the hardware chosen we then focussed on putting in place a solution from a software perspective.

  1. We created a sound recording and detection algorithm on Python and installed the same on our Raspberry Pi.
  1. We then went through an exhaustive process of training our algorithm to be able to recognise various sounds like a car horn, gunshot, forest fire, dog bark, jackhammer etc.
  1. We then attached a small USB microphone to our RPi to constantly listen and record sounds and create small sound files.
  1. These sound files would then be processed through our algorithm. The algorithm would then flush out a probability percentage against each sound and give a final output based on the same. Any result which has a low probability percentage would be rejected to avoid false positives.
  1. Finally an alert package will be created with the below details and sent to the central control team via Sat-Nav:
  1. The ground control team gets the alert packages from various RPis installed in the area. As the GPS coordinates for every installed RPi are already known and when multiple RPi’s raise the same alert, the ground team uses the triangularisation technique to figure out the probable GPS coordinates of the incident. Once GPS coordinates are known a QRT team is deployed immediately to the incident site.

Learnings / Limitations

During the course of the project we noticed and flagged some limitations that we faced. These included:  

Conclusion

Overall we were very pleased with the POC and based on detailed evaluation of the RPi sound detection device, we believe it to be an adequate tool to detect hazardous sounds in remote areas such as forests and natural reserves. The major factors considered in this evaluation were the environment, sustainability and cost-effectiveness. 

Given the high cost of traditional monitoring techniques for large areas (e.g. drones), it’s exciting to consider the possible application of remote detection systems like the prototype we developed, as this will enable biodiversity organisations - often nonprofit bodies - to access innovative technologies at a lower cost and enable them to continue protecting our vital natural environment.

spread the word, spread the word, spread the word, spread the word,
spread the word, spread the word, spread the word, spread the word,
Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology
Development

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one
Strategy

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months
Strategy

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups
Design

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How expensive is it to develop an app?
Strategy

How expensive is it to develop an app?

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology
Development

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one
Strategy

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months
Strategy

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups
Design

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How expensive is it to develop an app?

How expensive is it to develop an app?
Strategy

How expensive is it to develop an app?

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How expensive is it to develop an app?

How expensive is it to develop an app?

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Protecting our planet with innovative and affordable sound detection technology

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

Building an app? It’s essential to use analytics from day one

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How Frolo went from idea to app in six months

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How to design an onboarding process that boosts sign ups

How expensive is it to develop an app?

How expensive is it to develop an app?