These Hacked Birdhouses Save Forests From Fire #CitizenScience

We are lucky that many of the forests we have left in our country are protected parks complete with rangers, communication systems and fire towers. An alarm can summon help quickly, although the challenge then becomes having enough firefighters to douse the fire. Spain has suffered from a large number of fires and lacks the manpower and infrastructure for an alarm system in remote areas. However, one insurance company is changing that, according to Geeky Gadgets. Check out this Arduino birdhouse, which just might be the cutest fire detection system ever for trees. Generali Insurance partnered with marketing company Ogilvy & Mather to create this solution that hopes to reduce the destruction of wildlife and homes by forest fires.


You can see the sloped roof of the house lends itself nicely to a solar panel, which is able to charge a battery for the unit. Mounted at the bottom of the birdhouse is an Arduino, a 3G SIM card and a smoke sensor. So, when smoke is detected, a signal with GPS location is sent to a nearby fire company for help. One of the interesting things about this project is the use of solar panels in dense forests. Usually shade becomes an issue, especially during warmer months. However, the trees shown in the video seem to be skinny pines, allowing for more adequate sunlight conditions. My one question as a birder is whether these birdhouses will eventually attract nesting birds. This could end up being a protector and creator of homes. To learn more about this smart solution, check out the company’s site. Also, since solar panels are such an integral part of supplying power to outdoor sensor solutions, you might also want to look at our USB, DC and Solar LiPoly Charger Guide. Learn how to include solar in the mix for your science projects.


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  1. Unfortunately, most forests large enough to require remote detection do not have cell coverage.

  2. @kjw well he got this far, i assume it wouldn’t be much harder to modify this so it connects to a solar powered pirate box and come up with a nice little detection system.

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