Canterbury man calls on IT sector to destroy pests

Canterbury man calls on IT sector to destroy pests

A Canterbury man is calling on the world's IT community to help destroy New Zealand's pests.

He's taking a high tech solution to one of this country's biggest environmental challenges and he reckons using smart phones will be 80,000 times more efficient than current trapping methods.

"This is a smart phone here, we've got a motion sensor here, a little microphone, solar panel, and we've got a waterproof speaker out the back," says The Cacophony Project Grant Ryan.

It looks a little more sophisticated than a high school science project, but Mr Ryan believes this is the answer to eradicating pests.

Mr Ryan came up with the idea when he heard birdsong increase around his Banks Peninsula home once he'd killed off possums and rats.

He's called it The Cacophony Project.

"When Captain Cook got off the boat there was a cacophony of bird sound. And if you ever hear it, it's just joyous," says Mr Ryan.

At the centre of the device is a smart phone which records birdsong and sends data over the cloud to help create an index of birdlife.

The device will also use audio and visual lures to attract pests, and when they approach they'll be sprayed with poison.

"Okay so this sounds kind of crazy -- we think potentially that it could be 80,000 times more efficient," says Mr Ryan.

Crazy perhaps, but serial-inventor Mr Ryan has a number of successful businesses under his belt, including the YikeBike and PurePods, so he can be taken seriously.

And he's not looking to make any money from his latest venture.

The Cacophony Project is completely open source -- meaning anyone anywhere in the world can access the data and help contribute to making the project better.

"As soon as anyone works out a slightly better way to do it, you can update the whole lot, they all get better," says Mr Ryan.

And eventually, he says, even non-IT people will be able to help the project via a smartphone app that could record birdsong and upload it to the index.