It's been an extremely busy Summer for the Open Acoustic Devices team, including field work, workshops, group-buys and product development. Alas, we haven't had much time to send out an update, so we thought it's about time to let you know what we've been up to and what is coming up.
To recap, we originally designed and developed AudioMoth to solve two conservation applications: detecting the New Forest cicada and detecting gunshots in tropical forests. This has meant we regularly participate in our own conservation field work.
Starting the year in Belize, we set out to monitor illegal poaching. After a year working on the gunshot detection algorithm previously trialled at Pook's Hill last year, we deployed AudioMoth in the dense tropical forest of a protected nature reserve. This was pretty tough work, taking roughly 5hrs to bushwhack a mere 400 metres a day in the sweltering heat. We took out 90 devices, deploying only 10 in the top corner of the reserve. The remaining 80 will be gradually deployed. With the devices optimised to monitor gunshot events for a year, it will be fascinating to see how much gunshot activity there has been and where it has happened on our return in 2019.
Returning to the UK in early summer, there wasn't long to prepare AudioMoth for our next deployment: the 2018 survey for the New Forest cicada. This was the continued annual search for the UK's only native cicada, which involved deploying AudioMoth for the 3rd consecutive year.
In the interest of verifying the detection abilities of AudioMoth and the algorithm, we also took a short trip to Slovenia before deploying in the New Forest. Despite no confirmed sightings of the New Forest cicada for over 20 years in the UK, the species is relatively common in Slovenia. In spite of this, our initial efforts to find the cicada in Slovenia weren't successful. After 2 days of searching we were ready to give up. Suddenly, as we were driving away from a possible site, one flew straight into our car. We quickly pulled AudioMoth out and searched the area, finding a large number of them singing nearby.
On our return from Slovenia we got going with deploying the devices in the New Forest. Over the 3 month cicada deployment we had the chance to travel over to California, running an AudioMoth workshop at San Diego Zoo,
followed by a talk and a second workshop with Jose in Brisbane at the EcoAcoustics Congress.
At both events we met with a huge number of the eco-acoustics community, which included both current and potential users of AudioMoth. It was fantastic to meet everyone in person. We are hoping to publish our workshop findings very soon.
Unfortunately, after 3 months of one of the hottest English Summers to date, we returned to find no evidence of the New Forest cicada. We are still hopeful that they will emerge and with a 7 year emergence cycle, there's always 2019.
Throughout 2018 we've also seen many successful GroupGets campaigns. The 5th round managed to receive 754% of its target funding amount. From all purchases made, GroupGets have been sending a percentage of funds back to the Arribada Initiative, who organise the purchases. Unknown to many, the Arribabda Initiative use this money to support the ongoing growth of the AudioMoth project.
On the topic of group-purchasing, WildLabs.net have recently released their annual report. This includes a case study titled: 'Audiomoth: Who wants to join a group buy?', which shows the spread of participants in the recent GroupGets campaigns. WildLabs have also started a small survey to get a better picture of what the users of AudioMoth are actually doing. Open Acoustic Devices now have over 800 subscribers, it would be great if AudioMoth users could share exactly what they are using them for. Check out the post on WildLabs here.
For those who missed the most recent group purchase or are looking for alternative purchasing options, we are excited to say AudioMoth was selected to be the first open-source device available to purchase on the new 'Earth & Ecology' tab at LABMAKER. These will be available outside of the usual group purchase schedules. However, please still keep an eye out for the next GroupGets round, as purchases made through GroupGets support the Arribada Initiative and in turn allow us to keep supporting AudioMoth users.
Finally, we have been busy developing a new revision of AudioMoth, version 1.1.0. For this minor revision, we've focused on making it more robust to knocks and breaks. We will also be releasing a backwards compatible firmware update with the hardware release, which provides greater stability and a few new features. We'll be providing more information closer to release.
That's 2018 thus far, we're certain the rest of the year will be just as productive!