Rev Hardware Accelerator Team Protects Public Lands with Acoustic Security System
Nature has inspired poets and song-writers, provided sanctuary and calm to the stressed, and challenged mankind to evolve pass its limits. Nature is a resource and a source of beauty for all who need it and can appreciate it. Ithaca High Schoolers Elliot Richards and Edward S. Buckler V are setting out to make sure it stays that way with their company, Outland Analytics.
The Rev Hardware Accelerator Team is working on a device that detects sounds, such as off-road vehicles, gun shots, chainsaws and other loud noises. By identifying these sounds, their product tracks trespassing, illegal hunting and timber theft. The device uses acoustic sensors and sound analysis to detect the noise, assign it to a source, and notify landowners of trespassing incidents. Outland Analytics also keeps a log of incidents in its cloud database, giving owners the ability to identify patterns for trespassing times and areas.
Legal hunting and harvesting practices around the world has contributed to much of the decreases in forest land and animal populations, but have been curbed slightly due to law reform. Still, Endangered Species reports that “one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70 percent of all assessed plants” are in danger of extinction. A Virginia Tech study estimated that timber theft amounted to an annual loss of upwards of $5 million dollars annually.
Current, inexpensive land monitoring options available to public land managers are either ineffective or passive, said the team. Barricades and signs are an instant defense against property intrusion, but are passive and give no notification of intrusion; they are also easily bypassed. Trail cams offer a visual element to land monitoring, but have no notification system and are evadable. Outland said their monitoring solution is different from competitors because it’s targeted towards the specific needs of land management organizations.
“We’re unique in that we’re trying to help underfunded and understaffed land management agencies at the state and federal levels. A lot of companies create these sensor detection systems for private companies that have a lot money and are just protecting high-value assets,” said CEO Elliot Richards. “We’re creating a system to really help public land managers preserve public land for the good of taxpayers that use them and fund them.”
Outland Analytics is the second high school team to work in the Hardware Accelerator through a partnership with Ithaca High School’s Development and Design course. Jack Greenberg, the team’s lead programmer, said the Accelerator has given him an understanding on how to take a project from little more than an idea to a business.
“In school, sometimes [we] do things more from some sort of preformed base…but here we’re starting from very little and trying to make something a lot bigger,” said Jack. “It’s helped me personally.”
In the fall, Elliot and Edward will begin their first year of college, while Jack will be in his senior year of high school. The trio said that they’ve already started planning on how they’ll collaborate over the year and the next steps they need to take after Rev Hardware’s Demo Day. The team said that seeing their product curb illegal hunting and timber harvesting practices and guide healthier natural land interactions is their ultimate goal.
Natalie Grande contributed to the writing of this article.