DOC AI Cam: Thermal camera from The Cacophony Project strapped to a tree
DOC AI Cam: on a screw spike
DOC AI Cam on a tripod
DOC AI Cam: Mounted on a screw spike
3 mounting options for the DOC AI Cam: strapped to a tree, on a screw spike, or on a tripod
DOC AI Cam secured with a padlock
Possum identified automatically on a thermal camera
Dashboard showing a summary of predators detected in the last 7 days
Graph showing how possums detected varies over time

Pre-order the DOC AI Cam: low cost low power thermal camera with machine vision

Regular price (ex GST)
Sale price
ex GST
Quantity must be 1 or more

This is our low cost thermal camera. This has all the features of our traditional thermal camera and more:

  • This is a smaller camera in the same style as traditional trail cameras
  • There is a built in bracket for mounting to a tree with a screw or straps, along with a mount for a security cable. There is still ability to mount the camera to a tripod.
  • There is a lower cost, more robust battery. The battery doesn't have a separate charging port, so costs less to manufacture and has one less place where water could get in. The 4 core battery cable also allows the camera to monitor the charge of the battery. This will be available via a software update at a later stage.
  • The auxiliary port allows for a speaker to be connected and is available on all cameras. Previously this was an added extra. See the manual for details on what you can do with the connected speaker. The speaker is sold separately. 
  • The power and auxiliary ports are mounted on the bottom of the camera, providing additional protection against water ingress.
  • The auxiliary port provides the option for the camera to connect to other devices (more to come on that).
  • We are planning to reduce the power usage (<1/3 of the power) via a software update. If the hardware does need to be updated to achieve this we will do that at no cost.
  • There is a multi-coloured light included which makes it easier to understand the status of the camera than the monochrome flashing light on the older camera.
  • We have included a microphone on the camera. This is currently untested, but may be suitable for audio bird or predator monitoring. We plan to test this and release any features that use it via software updates.
  • There is a built-in, rechargeable battery for maintaining the time. On the previous camera a button battery needed to be replaced every couple of years.
  • Despite the added features, it is less than half the original price of the previous camera.

We are making this camera available for pre-order now. We expect to be making deliveries this month (that unspecified month may move :-). The development of this camera was funded by DOC's Tools to Market fund.

Note: The case of the camera is still being finalised and will be slightly different than pictured.

The Thermal Predator Camera automatically detects movement and uploads videos to the cloud where they are analysed using machine vision algorithms to detect predators and birds.

The videos and statistics on the animals found can be viewed on the cacophony portal.

This provides the easiest, most effective and most cost effective way of monitoring predator numbers. These claims are backed up by the results from a Lincoln University study into the effectiveness of these thermal cameras. This study showed that these cameras are

  • 3.5x more sensitive than infrared trail cameras for possum detection
  • 200x faster to analyse
  • 8x cheaper per detection (this was calculated when the cameras were over twice the price)

Another study showed that the cameras are 5-20 times more sensitive for detecting rats.

The Department of Conservation have published a paper comparing thermal and trail cameras. This looks at the total cost of ownership and recommends situations where one type of camera should be used over the other. This study was done using the higher priced camera. This lower priced camera will broaden the situations where it is economic to use the thermal camera.

At the moment the model can automatically identify:

  • possums
  • rodents (rats and mice)
  • cats
  • hedgehogs
  • mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels)
  • birds
  • leporidae (rabbits and hares)
  • wallabies
  • penguins
  • vehicles.
  • humans

The accuracy of the identification varies with distance of the animal from the camera.  Generally there is very high accuracy from 3-8m. This article describes the accuracy of the thermal camera machine vision in more detail.

This thermal camera can work online or offline.  If the camera is within cell phone coverage and has a modem then the videos will be uploaded to the cloud as they are recorded. If the camera is not within cell phone range, or the there is no modem then the videos are stored on the camera and will be uploaded, either when the camera is bought back into cell phone reception or WIFI, or they can be wirelessly transferred from the camera to a phone using app called sidekick (read more about sidekick).

The camera includes a year's worth of cloud storage. Additional storage and connectivity can be bought separately. This video shows what it's like to use the Cacophony Portal.

The camera can be powered by a battery, mains power supply, or solar. The power supply, batteries and charger are each sold separately. It is recommended that the camera is mounted on a secure tripod or post. These are sold separately. The battery, charger and tripod/post can also be bought as a combo, saving money.

If you want to use solar to power the camera this can be set up using off the shelf components. This document describes a solar set up for the thermal camera.

"I really appreciate the ongoing tech support and modifications you’re providing to our team. It is hugely valued and a great comfort when spending up large (for conservation budgets) on new tech tools." Matt Maitland, Senior Ranger Open Sanctuaries


Operating voltage 5-13.3V (battery or mains)
FLIR lepton
Field of view 56° HFOV, 71° diagonal
Resolution 160 x 120
Frame rate 9 Hz

(depends on size of animal & conditions)


Modem or Wi-Fi
(with option to download to Sidekick app)

Storage 32GB

View the thermal camera accessories.

Download the thermal camera manual.

Check out blog posts about the thermal camera and videos about and from the thermal camera

Here is a a draft protocol for how to use the thermal cameras to monitor predators over an area.

The camera hardware and software, along with the machine vision algorithms and cloud storage portal have all been developed by The Cacophony Project, a not for profit organisation. A proportion of the proceeds will be donated to The Cacophony Project so they can continue to develop technology to help New Zealand become predator free. 

The Cacophony Project