Every fifteen minutes poachers kill an African elephant. If this continues, elephants will become extinct within ten years. This situation, once desperate, is now dire. And not just for elephants. Grizzly bears, orangutans, lions, and more are also disappearing. Accepting the status quo means losing earth’s treasures, one by one.
But it does not have to be like this.
What if we could save these elephants and other creatures, based on what IoT solutions we already have? Why not use RFID tags and defined MCU sectors that now prevent shoplifting in retail stores to identify when an individual pangolin is stolen? Or repurpose heat mapping cameras that track customer behavior to recognize immediately if a hippo has been off on its own? What if we could learn in real-time, by means of solar-powered drones that monitor oil pipelines, whenever a predator has culled the herd, or a new baby elephant has been born? What about replicating smart cities as smart savannahs?
This is the mission of Microsoft’s Project 15: An animal conservation initiative created to put a spotlight on the problem at hand. Named in recognition of the frequency with which elephants are poached, Project 15 aims to raise awareness in our partner ecosystem and develop positive change through collaboration and IoT technology. To build a bridge for the scientific community to see what solutions we have already, to create the connection to talk to us and our partner ecosystem directly and work to get these problems solved and solutions built out on Azure, the World’s Computer. How can we help?
In response to the growing crisis facing Africa’s diminishing elephant population,
Hackster.io and Smart Parks are coming together with leading technology and conservation partners to protect the gentle giants in their natural habitats.
Elephant deaths and abuse like those pictured below are much too common, but they can be stamped out with stronger legislation, law enforcement, and conservation. In order to make that a reality, pro-conservation teams need to better data on what is happening, something our collaboration and technology are perfectly positioned to provide.
We're inviting all Students to join Hackster,io and help develop the world's most advanced elephant tracking collar, which can help park rangers reduce animal loss from illegal ivory poaching, trophy hunting, human conflict, and environmental degradation. With #ElephantEdge, we're calling on the community to build ML models using the Edge Impulse Studio and tracking dashboards using Avnet's IoTConnect, which will be deployed onto 10 production-grade collars manufactured by our engineering partner, Institute IRNAS, and deployed by Smart Parks.
Build ML models with Edge Impulse that will be used for collar deployments. These new models will create a new Human to Elephant Language, powered by TinyML, that will help conservation efforts:
This is an urgent problem that no one has totally solved. Do you have completely out-of-the-box ideas that have never considered?
Tidbits to think about:
Build an IoTConnect dashboard that will be used for collar deployments and help park rangers, track, monitor, and get on-demand alerts that are critical to conservation efforts:
The new collar will use the following hardware and software:
You do not need any hardware to build the ML models. Use datasets to sample, analyze, and build your TinyML models. You can also use your mobile phone to run simulated data collections and deployment.
You do not need specific hardware to build the dashboards. Use any hardware you already have, from Arduino to Microchip, Seeed, Adafruit to STMicroelectronics, to send data to the IoTConnect platform.
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