DOC AI Camera now available


2040 Newsletter

Kia ora,

It's been a while since our last newsletter. The delay has been mainly due to it taking longer than I expected for us to have our new thermal camera ready. The good news is that it is ready now and we have shipped the cameras to the customers who pre-ordered and are ramping up production.

We have also introduced options to upgrade your old thermal cameras and rent the cameras so you can try before you buy.

In this newsletter we also share updates on the development of our bird monitor and trap.


We gave our camera a name: the DOC AI Cam. This is an acknowledgement to the Department of Conservation who funded the development of the camera.

While the camera took longer to get to market than I thought it would, the team from The Cacophony Project followed the timeline they gave DOC closely.

The camera is lower cost, smaller, with multiple mounting options, a more robust, lower cost battery, a multi-colour light to improve usability and many other small improvements over the previous camera.

While the camera is very functional as it is, we continue to work on the software, which is delivered via over the air updates. The next significant update will be to activate the low power mode. We have started testing this and initial results show that in this mode it uses 1/3 of the power. There is potential to improve this further. In this mode, the camera uploads just once per day if it has a connection. This means that the current batteries will last up to 6 weeks when the camera is configured to record at night.

The camera also has a microphone. We have started testing this with the aim to use it to monitor bird song. This functionality will be available via an update in the coming months (I'm being deliberately non-committal here given my previous record of estimating release dates).

The camera also has an auxiliary port. We will release software to enable this to be used to play sounds on a speaker, for those of you who would like to test audio lures. We are also planning on integrating with alternative communication platforms so the camera can send out notifications when certain animals are detected and there is no mobile data coverage. It could also be used for any other applications we come up with, such as triggering or disabling a trap for example.

This camera sees more predators than any other monitoring technique, and with the machine vision, requires much less labour. You get a report saying how many predators were seen each night. With near real-time alerts, it is perfect for detecting re-invasions, or the last hard to detect predators.

For those of you who have our classic thermal camera, we are offering a low cost upgrade, where we will re-use some of the components of your old camera.

For those of you who are unsure we offer the ability for you to rent a camera so you can try before you buy. The rental costs can be applied against the purchase price of the camera if you elect to buy it.

We are now starting to ramp up production.

In other camera news we have a new version of the companion phone app, Sidekick, with a simplified interface. We have also added the ability to distinguish between rats and mice.

Bird monitor

We have stopped selling the first version of our bird monitor because we are no longer able to source cheap Android phones that were used in the bird monitor and we found reliability problems. We're currently working on an Android software problem that means most of the bird monitors have stopped uploading their recordings.

The more positive news is that we are working on a new version of the bird monitor that will be based on the hardware we use for the camera. This significantly reduces development costs and time. We have been able to successfully make recordings and are working on the other software to schedule and upload those recordings.

In other bird monitor news:

High interaction rate trap

Our most successful recent deployment of our traps has been in the Cayman Islands. We hope to share a detailed case study once they have finished analysing their trapping data.

As part of this deployment We've added some new functionality to the trap so that it can be disabled when the cage is closed. This will let animals walk through the trap without it going off when another animal is caught, reducing the chance of the animals becoming wary of the trap, while increasing scent trails. We're also looking at further improvements to more quickly confirm if a trap is set and to show how many times the trap has gone off since it was last checked.

We've developed a small, lighter, cheaper version of the trap that we plan to make available for sale in the coming months.

We've also been working on the auto-kill mechanism, but it has been trickier than we anticipated to reliably kill a wide variety of animals when we have them caught in a cage. This is the nature of invention but I'm sure we'll get there eventually.

Trap cage switch

213 Lichfield Street
Christchurch Central City
Christchurch 8011
New Zealand

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