It is hard to imagine our lives without the various and numerous bits of technology we rely upon to help us navigate our day to day. From radio playing alarm clocks to robot cleaning devices, technology geared at making our lives easier is woven into the fabric of many societies across the globe, some would say to a detrimental extent.
While these technologies undoubtedly make our daily lives that little bit easier and more efficient it would be a stretch to suggest that most, if any of them, have a huge impact on our livelihood, let alone an impact on the welfare of the wider environment that we live in. However, this is exactly the kind of claim that could be made by the producers of Audio Moth.
When it comes to protecting our natural environment and the habitat of the many species that make up and support our global eco system, it is essential to first understand their way of life. Audio Moth is a sound recording tool that enables wildlife conservationists, enthusiasts and everyone and anyone in-between, to listen in to the comings and goings of whatever type of animal, bird, bat, or amphibian they are interested in.
This inexpensive piece of recording equipment retails for £50 and is an autonomous recorder meaning it can be programmed to turn on/off on particular routines and is capable of recording uncompressed audio to microSD card at rates from 8,000 to 384,000 samples per second. Created by Open Acoustic Devices it can be configured to record bats as well as birds and, unlike earlier programmable recorders which retail at around £800-£1000, it comes in well under budget.
Requiring only 3 AA batteries and a micro SD card (on a typical dusk to dawn cycle and it will run for two to three weeks, although exact time is dependent on night length and sample rate used) Audio Moth puts other similar devices to shame, as they usually use closed source software which makes them power and data hungry, and difficult to customise.
With over 6000 devices and 1000 users located across the global, Audio Moth is being deployed in a variety of different ways, from monitoring migrating birds in Greenland, to sourcing bats in Cuba, keeping an ear on amphibians in Malaysia and even helps monitor and combat human activity – such as illegal poaching.
By making technology like Audio Moth widely available, thanks to its low cost and customisable functionality, Open Acoustic Devices are giving conservationists and those committed to protecting our wildlife, a level of agency that they would not otherwise have had been able to achieve. To find out more watch an introduction to Audio Moth by Peter Prince here.