Rainforest Wildlife Recording System

Rainforest Wildlife Recording System

Backyard Brains’ corporate objective is “Neuroscience for Everyone” and we strive to democratize access to neurotechnology. Backyard Brains’ core belief is that by increasing access to principles of neuroscience at an early age, we will both inspire the next generation of engineers and physicians and improve the public’s understanding of general brain function.

More than half of U.S. bird species are threatened by climate change. In order to track migrations and monitor population numbers, there is a need for large scale data collection on songbirds both in the U.S. and in remote regions of the world.  Documenting the activity of songbirds remains a challenge, given the high cost of accurately collecting and storing song data.  There are options for affordable, high-quality, and inexpensive microphone systems on the market. What is missing, however, is a system that will autonomously perceive, identify, store and report bird song from its native environment.

This project team will develop a device to collect and store audio data from the wild so that we can detect and differentiate between birdsongs, insects, and rainfall. The device must also be suitably robust for sustained outdoor deployment, low-cost, and battery-operated.

More Information


Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign the following two documents in January 2018:

Click here to view Student IP Agreement

No NDA necessary

How to Apply

Project Features

  • Skill level All levels
  • Students 4-6 Students
  • Likely Majors CE, CS, ECE, EE, MIDAS, SI
  • Course Substitutions Honors, ECE Cognate, MIDAS, EE MDE, CE MDE
  • IP & NDA Required? Yes
  • Summer Opportunity Internship Guaranteed
  • Signal Processing & Identification (2 Students)

    Signal processing (audio filtering, parsing), machine intelligence (waveform identification, training)

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, EE, CE, SI
  • Programming (1-2 Students)

    General programming, numerical methods in data manipulation, database design

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, MIDAS
  • Hardware (1-2 Students)

    Embedded systems (selection/design, integration), DC power systems

    • Likely Majors: CE, EE

Sponsor Mentor: Greg Gage BB Sponsor
CEO, Backyard Brains
Gregory J Gage is a DIY neuroscientist. He has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan where he worked in a neuroscience lab studying the microcircuits of the brain that are involved with choice behaviors. His work is published in top neuroscience journals, and was the recipient of the prestigious Anuradha Rao Memorial Award from Cell Press for this work as a graduate student.
Backyard Brains offer a number of popular products for use in both the classroom and in any lab performing science, including: the RoboRoach, that can give you insight into neurostimulation, a Micromanipulator that can help you position your electrodes precisely, and a RoachScope that allows you to turn your mobile phone into a microscope.
Faculty Mentor: Achilleas Anastasopoulosbackyard
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Achilleas Anastasopoulos received the Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 1993, and the MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California in 1994 and 1999, respectively. His research interests lie in the general area of Communication Theory, with emphasis in joint parameter estimation and data detection, adaptive iterative algorithms, and coding for fading channels. He is the co-author of the book “Iterative Detection: Adaptivity, Complexity Reduction, and Applications”, (Reading, MA: Kluwer Academic, 2001).