Anti Predator Device - A Prototype for the Wildlife Conservation Network and Ewaso Lions non-profit to explore predator deterrent methods to alleviate unnecessary retaliatory killing of lions and other predators in Northern Kenya.
This project is currently in development. I developed a product plan (link here), I've also coded the firmware (link to GitHub project here) and I've designed the circuit (please see photos below). With the help of a friend, Adam Boyle, I also had a custom Printed Circuit board made, which can also be seen in the photo reel below. (link to schematic here) The idea is to deploy three prototypes capable of combining and array of deterrent effects for testing in the field. From these tests we can use and data points collected from our device as well as camera traps to boil down the features to the most most needed and place these features into a low cost solar powered deterrent housing.. There is an on board menu system with and LCD screen and buttons, a real time clock, and a data logging system that stores time stamped data on an SD card. Two arrays of different type of individually addressable 'smart LED's' are on board, a luminosity sensor, a piezo alarm, and two 5-watt speakers powered by a class-D amp. Audio is supplied by an on board .mp3 player that can be changed in the field. The device runs on a solar rechargeable Li-Polymer battery. Another friend Cory Jarman assisted me at TechShop SF in fabrication of custom acrylic parts I designed for the housing.
There has been a 90% loss of the African lion population during the past 70 years. According to Dr. Shivani Bhalla, director of the Ewaso Lions Project, in Kenya alone only around 2000 lions are still alive. Currently lions are disappearing at a rate of 100 per year. This drop is primarily due to habitat loss and contact with human pastoralists and their livestock. Similar problems exist with other carnivores as well, such as hyenas. Lions in northern Kenya are especially vulnerable to conflict because they live in or adjacent to areas inhabited by nomadic pastoralists and come into regular conflict with local people over livestock depredation. Conflict occurs when lions attack livestock and herders retaliate by fatally shooting, spearing, or poisoning lions and other large carnivores.
The Solution Approach:
We aim to develop an inexpensive, rugged, and effective predator deterrent with an intelligent micro controller and thoughtful design. Our prototype device will make use of a wide angle passive infrared motion sensor with matching Fresnel lens. The sensor will have a range of up to 50 feet and have user selectable high and low sensitivity levels. Responses to motion detection over defined time intervals will lead to different combinations of flashing LED lights and sound emission.
Visual Stimulus – An array of ultra bright LED's will blink in predefined, non habituating patterns upon predator detection and automatically at set intervals during the night. Multiple colors and time interval patterns will be tested locally to discern the most effective temporal light and color combinations.
Auditory Stimulus – Sound will be coupled with the visual stimulus to further ward off potential predators. The sound may be turned on/off by the user. Local field testing will evaluate the use of piezoelectric alarm noise, recorded human voice tracks, recorded gun shot sounds, as well as ultrasonic sounds known to deter cats.
Smart escalating warning patterns will be implemented. These patterns will be guided by data gathered in our local field test. One example: At the first detection of motion, the LED s will activate and flash rapidly on & off for up to 30 seconds
But if there is continued motion within the next 3-5 seconds, then sound will be activated. If motion is still being detected after 10-12 seconds, along with continued sound the LED s will flash more rapidly in an irregular pattern that differs from the original pattern, or if no further motion is detected, then the sound should be turned off while lights keep flashing for up to another 30 seconds. A testing matrix will evaluate different combinations of light and sound escalation and deescalation in the alpha prototype field test.
Key Attributes: Solar powered rechargeable battery, randomized non-habituating light and sound patterns, Automatic escalation and de-escalation of warning level, Built in motion detection, Ultra bright multicolored LED's, rugged and waterproof, automatic night-time detection, tamperproof.