2021 was a very productive year for us here. So we thought it was time for a recap of our products and an overview of what the products can do for you. Today we focus on our Thermal Camera.
What will a Cacophony Thermal Camera do for me?
Deploy the camera in the field and it will:
- Automatically record any animal that walks in front of it; you’ll see quite a few things you would miss with a trail cam:
- The thermal sensor is up to 20 times more sensitive - you’ll see many more of the smaller animals
- The field of view of the camera is wider - allowing it to spot animals from a wider frame
- The depth of view of the camera is deeper - allowing it to see animals further away and, as it will capture thermal images, not RGB images, you’ll still be able to see and identify the animal (very hard to do with a trail cam when the animal is partially obscured)
- Automatically upload recordings to the Cacophony server:
- You’ll get access to the recordings in near real time (within a few seconds, depending on your network connection)
- You can view recordings at any time from any device with a web browser (smartphone, tablet, laptop)
- The cloud services that support our cameras will then:
- Automatically classify the species seen; the Cacophony AI will “watch” the recording for you and produce a classification telling you what species has been seen
- Send you an automated email notification when an animal is seen with a thumbnail of the best view of the animal; each camera can be configured to send notifications for specific species (one or more)
- Calculate summary “visits” collecting a set of recordings where an animal has been walking back and forth in front of a camera and has created multiple recordings. A single “visit” will be generated showing an overall classification and allowing you to report one instance, not multiple
- Allow you to export the data from a set of cameras over a set period, allowing you to produce monitoring reports. These can be exported and manually manipulated in a spreadsheet and/or imported into platforms like trap.nz to take advantage of the rich reporting already available there
What species can the Cacophony AI identify?
Our AI has been busily watching recordings for a number of years now so it's getting good at identifying Aotearoa's wildlife.
At the time of writing, the species being automatically identified with high confidence:
- Mustelid (stoat, weasel, ferret)
- Rodent (rat, mouse)
- Leporidae (rabbit, hare)
This classification will continue to improve as we continue to expose the Cacophony AI to more and more footage.
Thermal Camera Features
What is it?
What can you do with it?
Automated classification of species
The Cacophony AI model will process all recordings and automatically identify the species seen
Configure an email notification from a camera by species, with a thumbnail of what’s been seen
Be notified that an animal has been seen without having to manually check. For instance, configure a camera to tell you when a possum has been seen and you will be receive an email when the AI identifies a possum, with a thumbnail image of the animal and a link to the recording
Shows the health status of a camera
Know when a camera battery needs replacing and/or
Know if a camera has lost reception
Shows the last update a camera received
Useful for troubleshooting a camera in the field
Stations (device locations)
Named stations (locations)
Tell the Cacophony site about your station names
Import all stations from trap.nz and automatically matches them to camera recording based on GPS location
Export monitoring data
Pull data from the Cacophony Browser into your trap.nz project
Our cameras use long life, lightweight batteries developed in house - these currently provide between 7 and 10 nights of usage (dependent on activity levels). Solutions exist for using solar panels (or other renewable energy source) to keep batteries charged if the location allows for it. The latest version of our battery is capable of charging at the same time as discharging, so (with an appropriate adapter) can be connected to any power source to keep the battery charged while still keeping your camera running.
The Cacophony services will now provide you with an alert to inform you when a battery has likely run down to zero.
The Sidekick App
If you’ve spent any time with our cameras in the field, you’ve probably used our Sidekick Android app. It allows you to connect to the camera (using your phone’s hotspot) and configure the camera, collect recordings, see what the camera is seeing, and much more.
Recently, we’ve enhanced a number of the features in Sidekick and added a few new ones;
What is it?
What can you do with it?
Shows you the camera’s view (live)
Frame the target view so you know what the camera is looking at
Copy recordings to your phone
Collect recordings from a camera that doesn’t have network connectivity
Audit trail for the camera
Tells you what the camera has been up to while it’s been out in the field
Update Camera Location
Tell the camera you moved it
All the recordings collected will have an accurate GPS location
Rename the camera
And move it into another group
Test Network Connectivity
Ensure camera can reach cloud services
Ensure you’ll be able to review recordings from the camera remotely
Security for your camera
Only people with permissions (members of the camera group) can amend settings.
There will be further updates coming to Sidekick in the future. If there’s a specific feature you think would be useful to you, please do get in touch and let us know.
What are people using the camera for?
The main use cases where our cameras have proved useful include:
- Animal behaviour:
- seeing how animals behave in and around devices
- seeing what routes animals take through the bush
- seeing how animals follow each other's scent trails
- seeing how animals behave around other animals
- Monitoring predator populations:
- Using the automated visits algorithm to produce measures of predator populations
- Control measure efficiency:
- seeing how animals interact (or not) with control devices (traps, bait stations, fences etc.)
- informing decisions about where and how to (re)place control measures
- learning how predators avoid control measures, e.g. find their way around the edge of fences
- Providing notifications of predator presence to allow for detect & respond implementations
- knowing in near real time where to send a dog / hunter / volunteer to deal with an animal
- Proof of presence:
- notifying in near real time when a predator has survived a knock-down effort
We're pretty confident our cameras have also been put to other uses - please let us know if you've found a use for our cameras that isn't listed here :)
As always, we welcome your feedback so don't hesitate to get in touch - leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.