Project Kick-off Meeting

Although we held a number of meetings between different partners during the inception phase of the experiment, it was only on 4th December 2017 that most of us managed to meet face-to-face in the Alt-W LAB in Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.

After a quick review of the project deliverables, milestones and schedule, Simon Chapple provided an update on the audio capture framework and plans.

Graham Stone pointed out that it will be important to be able to correctly interpret *missing* audio data, such as the absence of certain bird sounds. He suggested that one way of providing a baseline of detectability would be to play pre-recorded samples of wildlife sounds at natural levels to determine the sensitivity range of sensors.

We agreed on the importance of providing transparent information about the project to relevant stakeholders and the general public. This will be addressed in the New Year as we make more progress on understanding the technical dimensions of the project.

Finally, we discussed the fact that we have very Little time to prepare the end-of-project sound installation, and planning the content and requirements for this will have to be addressed as soon as possible.

First Prototype Device

Device in situ at test site  (plastic box at top)  monitoring bird feeders in normal and icy conditions.

We have prototyped a bio-acoustics listening device based on the Raspberry Pi Zero W and Dodotronic Ultramic. We are about to start 24hr continuous run testing in cold weather in two test sites. So far, the power consumption is pretty much as predicted considering cold weather.

A battery that delivers 30,000mAh should give 7 days continuous operation before needing to be recharged, and with a number of power saving options employed on the Pi, the initial tests have certainly borne this out. The cold weather (we have had several days of sub-zero temperatures and snow/ice) has much reduced the battery capacity, which is not surprising given the characteristics of Lithium-Polymer batteries.

Separately, we have now configured a Libelium Waspmote-based temperature, pressure, humidity sensing device to work within our existing LoRaWAN IoT infrastructure.