Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Free naturebytes’ Minecraft World

Posted by Steve Mowat

Our Minecraft world and education activities are an immersive and engaging approach for everyone to learn what biodiversity is, what means to us and what we can do to protect its future.

The new interactive curriculum now available for all Minecraft: Education Edition users, called Extinction! A Biodiversity Crisis. This content pack includes three standards-aligned lesson plans and a purpose-built Minecraft world from the creative minds of Naturebytes, a UK-based collective of technologists and conservation scientists.

Ride a rollercoaster through different eras, meet scientists and conservationists, conduct research about climate change and ecosystems use our educational resources, and work collaboratively to build creative solutions to counteract threats to biodiversity.

 

The Three Challenges:

  1. Tour through time from the Ice Age to present day
    The immersive world presented as part of Extinction! A Biodiversity Crisis is designed so that even teachers new to using Minecraft: Education Edition can get started quickly and easily. Take a rollercoaster journey through time to visit charismatic extinct species, investigate the causes of their extinction, learn about the importance of biodiversity and how it has shaped the world in which we live.
  2. Learn about extinction, climate change, and ecosystems
    Explore core concepts related to biodiversity, then apply knowledge to five threatened species biomes from around the world including the Philippine Eagle, Bison, Hawksbill Turtle, Snow Leopard, and Orangutan.
  3. Teach students the importance of biodiversity and build towards a better future
    Learn about the value, threats, and sustainable species management before building an Orangutan reserve to benefit the people, profit and planet. Players will also learn about the threats to biodiversity currently contributing to its global decline and experience how their decisions today can have an important impact on the world.

This Biodiversity content pack is available for all Minecraft: Education Edition supported platforms (Windows, macOS, and iPad). Learn how to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition with the free trial.

You can find all the Minecraft activities from the naturebytes Creative Studio here:
https://education.minecraft.net/biodiversity/

Comment and post to let us know how you found the experience. Enjoy!

Sign up to the newsletter below for more of the latest news and receive 10% codes for Wildlife Kits.

Climate Action Lab @ World Economic Forum

Posted by Steve Mowat

The importance of this is best explained by words of the student founders – see ‘mission statement’ below,

Inspiring words from the Davos youth!

We trained students in climate entrepreneurship and activism, conservation tech and we were treated to amazing sessions:

live interviews with the plant-powered selfie scientists,
how AI and drone footage protects great white sharks and people
machine learning with thermal images of elephants (and students) + more

Surprise guest Parker Harris, Salesforce CTO, even popped by to get involved.

“We have set up the Climate Action Lab for students to help make a positive change for themselves”

Even more impressive were the students and their guerilla campaigns;

Su Adams at (U Can Too) and the students investigated Davos air quality, finding a spike in pollution (above healthy levels) around new years day.

On discovering fireworks had a large and lasting on air quality, the students took to the streets, armed with their new evidence, handing out information and bottled Davos air to raise awareness and campaign for the protection of their air quality.

There’s more to come from the Davos students.

We’re now working to expand the Climate Action Lab network internationally so let us know what you think, get in touch and get involved!

 

Climate Action Lab Mission Statement by the students of Davos

“There are a lot of people that do not understand how serious Climate Change is for everyone – politicians aren’t doing enough.

We have set up the Climate Action Lab for students to help make a positive change for themselves.

We will share information, collect our own environmental evidence and take action to make a more sustainable, happy, equal and beautiful world.”

 

*This post has been adapted the original LinkedIn post*

Exploring nature in lockdown

Posted by Naturebytes

Exploring nature in lockdown: new kit and expert tips

Here’s something a little different for your lockdown – tips with a nature twist from our conservationists on how we’ve been exploring nature recently.

For those who have been in touch about building their own wildlife camera or after education resources, we’ve got new stock in at our online shop and new Wildlife Cam Kits in the next couple of weeks – but here’s some other free stuff for starters…..

We put these together to compliment the lists and tips filling up our inboxes. We always recommend active participation and exploration activities – it’s more fun that way.

1. Take new opportunities to explore outside – right now, a lot of people have a new opportunity to get outside during weekdays with our families when the sun is high in the sky – take it! Urban species are becoming more apparent, pollution is down and gardens and parks are teeming with life – get outside and enjoy it.

whilst you’re there…..

2. Become an Animal ID expert with free mobile apps – impress your friends with your new wildlife expertise with amazing apps like iNaturalist and BirdUp. They use image and sound recognition to help you ID species from pics or audio recording from your phone. You can even add images from your wildlife cam kit to ID species.

when you’re back indoors….

3. Live Safari from your sofa everyday – join WildEarth on live safari and get transported to the South African bush. See amazing wildlife up close and watch out for the newborn Leopard cubs this week. The experts you join along for the ride have incredible knowledge, good camera work and you can tweet your questions to be answered live from the wilderness. It’s a good watch for all ages and the safaris run twice a day (arranging sofas into a lounge safari jeep, optional).

Coming soon – we’ve been asked if we can make some of our activities available from the Climate Action Lab that we launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos so watch out for these, available soon.

Let us know if you enjoy these or want to know more, we hope you do.

Our best wishes to you all, take care everyone!

The naturebytes team

 

Education and kit store
 

Free naturebytes resources

 

Worlds-first plant selfie!

Posted by Naturebytes

Microbial fuel cells, developed by Plant-E, have been used successfully with Xnor.ai‘s energy harvesting camera technology to capture what are thought to be the world’s first plant-powered photographs.

Check out the video below to learn more about this incredible development that could have far-reaching benefits for the natural world!

 

Wild Dubai

Posted by Naturebytes

We’ve been in Dubai for a few weeks now – and we’ve been overwhelmed at how keen the UAE is to engage with Nature EdTech at naturebytes! If you’re an educator or school in Dubai or the UAE that’s looking to engage students with smart STEM skills, get involved – and spread the word!

Working with the Dubai Future Foundation, the KHDA and our Pioneer partners, the naturebytes team of conservation, technology and education specialists are delivering bespoke education and technology programmes – tailored to the needs of Dubai.

We’re working with the youth of Dubai to give them the tech skills and tools they need to solve the real-world environmental challenges, reconnect with nature and create a brighter future for themselves!

Find out more at www.naturebytes.org/dubai

Brand new Wildlife Cam Cases for Spring 2018!

Posted by Naturebytes

Be quick to make sure you get your hands on one of the limited run of cases.

The cases are perfect for those who want to take their electronics outdoors but already have a Raspberry Pi or some of the electronics in the full Wildlife Cam Kit.

Be quick to make sure you get your hands on one of the limited run of cases (the first dispatch for pre-orders will be limited to 50 and shipped on 23/05/18) just in time for the bank holiday weekend.

The Wildlife Cam Case has been designed and made by tech and conservation experts in the UK and are perfect for those who want to take their electronics outdoors but already have any of the Raspberry Pi models or own some of the electronics included in the full Wildlife Cam Kit.

With purchase of the Wildlife Cam Case you will also have access to the free digital guides and software allowing helping you to build your wildlife camera, get it outdoors and catch those wildlife shots.

Features:

The contents of the Wildlife Cam Case

The electronics mount included is compatible with all Raspberry Pi models, the Raspberry Pi Camera boards and allows you to use custom set-up’s. Also provided are the fasteners and spacers that we use in the Wildlife Cam Kit for attaching a Raspberry Pi, Camera, PIR and LiPo Rider. The battery holder will secure your power source, and keep the inside of the kit tidy.

The weatherproof enclosure fully protects the internal electrical components from the elements and the hinged-clip design provides the user with easy access to the Pi’s ports and internal components. The rear cable and attachments allows for modular upgrades, for example Solar panels to charge the battery, but other adaptations might include sound capture and wireless connectivity (enabling streaming to a TV or PC).

We’ve also included a robust nylon camera mounting strap to attach your camera to posts or trees to capture the best images.

Injection Moulding of Wildlife Cam Case

Posted by Naturebytes

It does this by injecting material – most commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers at high pressure into a “tool”.

The diagram below details the components within our tool. A common analogy is to compare the parts within a tool to that of a car engine to help understand how the moving parts within the tool work. Consider the plates as the engine sump, the core as the pistons, the cavity as the cylinder and the ejections pins are the camshaft and valves. Ultimately, a lot of moving parts manufactured to precision. This YouTube video animates the process.

Naturebytes injection moulding tool

One of the completed Naturebytes tools can be seen below. This tool created the clips that secure the case and was a simple tool to create compared to the case itself.

Completed injection mould (clips)

The tool makers identified that the camera case design would require a tool with a number of moving parts to make the sophisticated hinges, the hole in the base, the rear base clips and the pin holes. An initial difficulty was encountered due to the fact that mould tools are pulled open and close in the same direction (a process called the line of draught), but complications can arise when you need to make shapes or holes at different angles – which our tool required, so a late design change was made to add 12 separate additional moving parts and to split the tool into two separate pieces.

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

Originally, the plan was to have both the cover and the base of the kit in one tool to make the tool and production as cost effective as possible (the process costs tens of thousands of pounds). However, during the tool design stage, mould flow analysis highlighted a potential quality risk known as “in-balancing”. Due to the weight differences between the 2 main components this could have potentially caused a quality issue and a higher chance of “short” mouldings. When the molten plastic is forced into the tool it will fill the biggest voids first and more easily. At the extremities of the tool the plastic has less pressure and struggles to fill the remaining cavity which risks an incomplete product and thus a reject. Therefore additional time was taken to re-design the tools as two separate tools, allowing for the best possible product quality. Subsequently, making 2 tools has taken more time to complete than a single tool.

The Wildlife Cam Kit cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

The 12 additional moving parts and the move to two separate tools ensured that the end product was a first rate tool, which it needed to be. The diagram below provides an overview of the complete process to date.

tooling_process_delay2

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Create Your Own Naturebytes Live-View

Posted by Naturebytes

Check out the guide below to see everything you need to try it out for yourself!

Once you’ve added adapters and a long ethernet cable you’ll be able to watch the view from your camera in real-time and use the interface to record videos, take photographs / snapshots and set motion-detection and change settings all from the comfort of your computer indoors.

Below I’ve added a guide and a list of parts you’ll need with suggestions of where you can find them and how much they’ll cost. This is a hack so it’s not necessarily the most beautiful but it does work wonderfully well!

Additional hardware you’ll need:  

Estimated Cost of additional hardware needed –  £30.00

note: We do not supply the additional parts. The additional purchase parts (linked above) are our suggestions that have worked well for us. Feel free to hack your own solution and let us know how you get on.

Steps to create a live-stream from your Wildlife Cam Kit.

On your laptop or desktop;

1. First, you’ll need to download and install the “Bonjour” software package for Windows (if using Mac you don’t need to) – this software allows the Raspberry Pi to talk to your computer when plugged in via the ethernet connection.

2. Next,  download and install the Chrome browser. Naturebytes Live View has been optimised to work in Chrome and doesn’t support Internet Explorer.

3. Download the Naturebytes Live View Image (powered by the excellent RPi-Cam-Web-Interface) and write it to your microSD card to be used in the Raspberry Pi (for more detailed instructions on how to do this see here.)

4. Connect up your PoE adapter kit to your computer, PoE splitter, Injector and Raspberry Pi so they are all connected. Instructions are included in the PoE adapter kit but we’ve included additional instructions below for guidance;

i) Connect the PoE Splitter to the Raspberry Pi:
Insert the PoE kit DC Power Cable into the DC OUT port of the Splitter, insert the other end into the corresponding DC port of the DC Barrel to micro USB adapter and connect it to the Raspberry Pi.
Note – The black switch on the PoE ‘Splitter’ should always be on ‘5V’.

ii) Connect one of the PoE kit’s short ethernet cables from the LAN OUT port of the ‘Splitter’ to the Raspberry Pi unit with the USB to ethernet adapter.

iii) Place the PoE ‘Splitter’ inside the back of the cam kit and run the ethernet cable through the back of the cam kit through the opening.

Note – this will mean water can get through the back of your case so you don’t want to leave it out where dust or water can get inside. You can either purchase a grommet like this, or pierce a hole in your grommet and feed the cable through, or hack another solution to give the hole some protection using sugru, blue-tac or something similar.

iv) You’re now ready to connect the Wildlife Cam Kit to your computer! Insert the short Ethernet Cable into the ‘LAN IN’ port of the PoE Injector, and connect the other end of the cable to your PC (hub or router to enable multiple Ethernet connections)

v) Connect your long Ethernet Cable from the PoE ‘POWER+DATA IN’ port of the Splitter to the Injector’s ‘POWER+DATA OUT’ port.

5. Ensure the microSD card with Live View software is inserted into the Raspberry Pi. Connect the Power Adapter with the PoE Injector and plug into an electrical outlet. A green light on the PoE “injector” unit will indicate the power is on.

Your Raspberry Pi and camera should now be connected to your computer, powered and ready to test!

6. To view the live feed, open Chrome browser window on your laptop or desktop.
Type the following URL into your browser’s address bar:

http://liveview.local

Allow a few minutes for the Pi to boot up. Now you should see the live stream from your camera.

If you don’t see “Start live feed”,  check the cables are connected correctly, click REFRESH on your browser and wait a few minutes. Read through the guide again and give it another go.

That’s it. Now it’s time to place your camera outside and start capturing images of wildlife!

 

We hope you enjoy the new camera functionality. Let us know about your hacks and what wildlife you spot.

The Naturebytes Team,

P.s.  For any advanced camera settings check out this guide for settings adapted from (http://elinux.org/RPi-Cam-Web-Interface)

Credit: The software that provides the camera control interface has been adapted from the brilliant Raspberry Pi-Cam_interface created by Silvan Melchior.

Birds fly from the naturebytes NestBoxes

Posted by Naturebytes

Naturebytes NestBoxes have been set-up by schools all over Belgium. The NestBox was created especially for the Xperibird project, fitted out with our specialist tech, including; a Raspberry Pi computer, night-vision camera and user control interface;  creating a live video stream direct from the NestBox to the classroom. Students have closely followed the lives of their bird family as they grow from eggs, to hatchlings, to flying the nest.

NestBox Infographic

It’s been an amazing experience to see how the NestBox insights have captivated their audience – we’ve seen nesting great tits and blue tits, 14 eggs laid in just one nest, chicks taking their first flight and some of the breeding pairs are now successfully raising their second brood of the season.

The trials and tribulations of bird life have made it an emotional journey for some of the schools and their adopted bird families. One teacher from Free School of Fraipoint, Belgium said “Our school, children, parents and teachers have all been touched by this fabulous adventure! A big thank you to the designers of Xperibird!”

The Xperibird truck delivers the NestBoxes across the country

The Xperibird project is a three year project delivered to schools across Belgium by the wonderful people at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and is funded by Google.org. Through the distribution of NestBoxes, digital learning, bird observations and data collection, the Xperibird project has brought schools and scientists together to better understand these key bird species.

National map of Xperibird NestBoxes

You can find out more and check out the latest videos on the Xperibird website, it’s great!

If you have any thoughts, questions or are interested in a similar project, get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.

Steve

naturebytes co-founder

 

 

Kenya Cam Kit Conservation

Posted by Naturebytes

It’s not everyday that you get asked if the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit would survive a bite from a hyena. One conservation organisation wanted to trial a kit to support their exciting citizen science project by capturing short 5 second video clips of animals roaming the African savanna so their users could identify what was spotted in the video. The Wildlife Cam Kit was therefore modified to take video (it takes photos by default) and took on the challenge. A USB WiFi dongle, 3G Netgear router and a larger Li-ion battery were added too. Instead of saving to the usual USB drive, videos were saved to the SD card instead.

The real challenge with deploying kits remotely is establishing a connection to the device from your home / office to check battery levels, perhaps change a configuration file, or even command the kit to take a photo / video on demand. The local GSM provider didn’t allow us to purchase a static IP address (so we could connect to the kit directly). To get around this we used a rather fantastic programme called PageKite. PageKite is a reverse proxy service that doesn’t care what your original IP address is – it boots and then provides you with a fixed pagekite.me URL that always points to the kit. We’re using it at the moment to host a small http server too so we can browse the contents of the /video folder on the kit from afar.

It’s great to see users modifying and extending the capabilities of the kit for their own needs and we can’t wait to see what the kit captures over time.

Al
Naturebytes Co-founder

 

 

 

Naturebytes in the classroom

Posted by Naturebytes

A study by the RSPB revealed that four in five young people are disconnected from wildlife. We’re on a mission to change this, so we visited Brecknock School, a London inner city school, to run our Wildlife Cam Kit workshop.

Delivered to a class of 10 – 11 year old students, the activity gave an introduction to the naturebytes kits and the important role that conservation plays in preserving the world’s species and habitats. During the activity the students learnt about the fundamental concepts of computing, technology and natural sciences through the application of creative project based learning. Once the kits were assembled the students then placed their camera at carefully chosen spots around the school grounds to get the best shots of their resident critters.

After two days of impatiently waiting to see what they caught on camera, the students collected their kits, analysed which species they snapped, recorded any interesting behaviours they observed and then presented their findings to the class. The most popular animal was “Cyril the thieving Squirrel“ you can see caught red handed with the bird food.

We’re happy to say that Maeve Doherty, Year 6 Teacher, and her class enjoyed the workshop “ all the children were engaged as it was hands on and their interest was kept throughout. There was lots of enthusiasm for the project and after the Naturebytes team left the students were left wanting to do more.”

We are now rolling out our educational activity and are offering you the chance to have a go with our Wildlife Cam Kit loan scheme for schools in the London area. If you are interested please send an email to info@naturebytes.org and we will get in touch.

Jon

Naturebytes Co-founder

New Naturebytes Online Community

Posted by Steve Mowat

Hi Everyone,

We’ve been working behind the scenes to develop an improved online community experience for you. You’ll have noticed that you can upload your photos to the website, select a location and record your sightings, but until today you couldn’t view uploads from across the community.

Take a look at the new community map (once logged in) and you’ll discover that you can now view uploads from other users and search for sites local to you by specifying the number miles away from any given location. Click the map icons and you’ll also get a snapshot of the user’s featured photo and a glimpse of their location / site.

To help you manage your uploads we have also improved our menu system (this was the yellow bar that shows when you log in). You’ll now find a range of quick options on your profile page to help you easily upload, manage and share your experiences using the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit.

Excitingly, we’re also gearing up to launch our first Naturebytes challenge where the entire community can work together to help identify species in unison so help answer conservation questions. This is a perfect time to get your kits outside and reconnect with wildlife.

Check it out, we think you’ll like the changes.

Steve

Co-founder, Naturebytes.

Cam Kit Software Update

Posted by Steve Mowat

We’ve released an update for your Wildlife Cam Kit software to close a few bugs we found in the first release (Kickstarter). Below, we explain what you need to do to get these improvements on your cam kit. Check out the change-log at the bottom of the page for the full list of the fixes and improvement.

Additionally, we’ve updated the image file (the operating system that runs your kit) so you can all enjoy using the new PIXEL OS (released by the Raspberry Pi Foundation) when you’re checking your Cam Kit photos on the lovely new desktop.

GPIO pin change

There’s one important change that you’ll need to make if you want to use the new software. We’ve moved the positioning of the jumper cables along a notch to fix an issue where the RTC (Real Time Clock) module can block the adjacent pin.

We’ve taken a page out of the latest instruction manual below to show you the new placement below, or login and take a look here.

It turns out that the manufacturing process of the RTC unit isn’t quite spot on each time and the RTC plastic casing can be offset by a few mm – enough to prevent some users from pushing the jumper cable onto the pin next to it.

Download the image file

Right then. To download the latest image, pop along to our download pages and grab it. If you’re unsure how to load the image file onto your SD card then you can find enlightenment by taking a look at our instruction guide showing how to format and write the new image to your SD card. You’ll need an SD card reader handy although most newish laptops have them built-in.

As always, feel free to contribute via our Naturebytes Github account. We’ve recently had a commit from DeviantSaker who has added the ability to select the location where you photographs save. A great addition we thought. We’ll certainly include it in the new release, or if you want to try it out just grab the python script from GitHub and use it right away.

Enjoy!

Al

Co-founder, Naturebytes

 

Change-log for Software Update:

– Fixed a delay writing to the attached USB flash drive. Images are now written in 1 – 3 seconds (it took up to 60 seconds in some slooow cases).

– Removed the stamping of photographs by default. You can still turn it back on in the code if required.

– Code optimisation (see our GitHub for the very latest improvements)

– Updated the operating system to PIXEL

– Changed the physical GPIO pin to prevent the RTC (Real Time Clock) from blocking the adjacent pin

– Included milliseconds in the filenames to prevent a possible issue where two images are saved within a second (thanks to Richard Keed for suggesting this)

 

New National Nest-box Project

Posted by Naturebytes

We’ve teamed up with The Natural Science Museum of Belgium, with funding from Google.org, to create the Naturebytes smart NestBox national school project. The Naturebytes NestBoxes are creating a network of young people all learning digital skills to become citizen scientists and monitor key bird species. It’s the internet of things for wildlife!

The Naturebytes NestBox includes a Raspberry Pi computer and infra-red camera to covertly live-stream and photograph from inside the nest-boxes and capture key information such as: which species are nesting, how many eggs are laid and how many chicks survive to grow up and leave the nest.

Check out the video below of a Great tit feeding it’s chicks in a Naturebytes NestBox and find out more on the Xperibird project page.

Right now, we’re lining up the expansion of this project into different regions so if you would like to partner with us or get involved in this exciting project, we’d love to hear from you.

Steve

Co-founder, Naturebytes

 

The PlantPot Bot

Posted by Naturebytes

As you can imagine, as a nature-inspired digital making organisation we were delighted to see that the Raspberry Pi Foundation itself has created a fantastic kit, the PlantPot Bot, to help you monitor your plants, log useful data, and have a whole heap of fun doing it.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation's limited editions PlantPot Bot.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s limited edition PlantPot Bot.

They have created a feature packed custom PCB board to help you in your mission to save all plants from imminent under, or over watering doom, as now you have the cold scientific facts to understand what your green friends need to stay happy and healthy.

The kits have been lovingly hand made by the team at the Foundation and are perfect for families to build on the kitchen table, something that Naturebytes loves – digital making teamwork between family members is great. Our Wildlife Cam Kit would quite happily sit side by side so you could even keep an eye on what’s eating your plants if you combined both kits.

The PlantPot Bot allows you to monitor ambient light levels, humidity, soil moisture and temperature so it will tell you everything you need to know. We have one on our desks and are building it ourselves so we can take it for a spin here at Naturebytes HQ. We’ll let you know how we get on, and can only imagine that the plants in our office will be a lot merrier this Christmas with the Bot watching over them.

Preparing for delivery and the weeping willow

Posted by Naturebytes

We’ve had to come up with our own in-house methods of mass production to handle some of the finer elements, such as preparing each of the SD cards for your kits. To copy a vast number of SD images we would have needed to invest in a professional SD card duplicator, but even a 1-31 machine can cost shy of £2,400, so we decided to use the humble Raspberry Pi and individual USB writers as a network, ending up with what appears to be a weeping willow SD card writer – which fit into the Naturebytes family quite well we thought.

The Naturebytes (accidental) weeping willow SD card writer

The Naturebytes (accidental) weeping willow SD card writer

By using a terminal commander such as Terminator by Chris Jones we can easily network the Pi’s across a 16 port hub and use the standard Linux dd command to create 16 cards at a time at a fraction of the cost. As a small startup we didn’t have the funds to splash out on the expensive option, but it just goes to show how versatile the Pi can be – the green weeping SD card writers was luck. We had used them before as they support Linux on the fly, but the weeping willow effect brought a smile to our faces that we wanted to share with you.

We’ll be back again shortly and can’t wait to sign out the kits and get you all photographing wildlife and sharing what you’ve spotted.

Kind regards.

The Naturebytes Team

The rather incredible Pi Zero

Posted by Naturebytes

It wasn’t long before we started to receive emails asking if it could be used in the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam kit. With such a small form factor it opened our minds to new kit possibilities in terms of size, but without the CSI port you can’t natively connect the Pi camera to it.

Sure – you could use a USB camera, but then you’d need to hack one in to replace the standard Pi camera that we ship with the kits. Power could also be an issue with a USB camera as you’d need to supply the new camera and you’ll need to fit in that extra juice.

The specification looks like this:

Zero_3_of_5_1024x1024

We’re thinking that the A+ is still the firm winner for now when it comes to the Cam Kit, but we’re very excited to discover what’s possible with the Pi Zero when you start thinking about monitoring plants, watering them remotely, using the Zero with the Pi weather station etc… or monitoring wildlife in new exciting ways.

It’s going to be a fun time for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts everywhere. Congrats to anyone who managed to buy one before they all sold out, or were the lucky owner of a MagPi this month.

Kickstarter Success – 3 Weeks On

Posted by Naturebytes

The funds you so kindly pledged took 2 weeks to reach us (the standard Kickstarter funds transfer time) and early this week we began to purchase the necessary components to complete the orders for the November delivery.

The casing itself has been undergoing IP testing and has been under close scrutiny by Jon, our resident 3D designer and modeller. It takes a considerable amount of time to produce injection moulded products (~12 weeks from design to production) so signing off the design and pressing the big red button to start the process was high on our agenda.

The other components (batteries, cabling etc…) will follow, along with the scripts, documentation and the development of our online portal – ready to accept you when you first open your kits. As you can gather, we’re incredibly busy but still as delighted as ever to be able to deliver the Wildlife Cam Kit and welcome you to Naturebytes.

video_play

If you missed the Kickstarter and want to pre-order a kit, then you can still watch the video to learn more about the kit’s features, or place your name on our pre-order list and we’ll get back to you with more details.

The Naturebytes Team

Power it your way

Posted by Naturebytes

It’s already raised a few questions as to whether their HAT (fits on top of your Pi) will fit / work with the Naturebytes cam? It sure will – infact, we thought this may happen from the start and opted to make the internal component holder inside the Naturebytes camera case a laser cut insert so it’s easy to make your own changes to fit certain parts, or to get a custom version from us to fit a popular setup or a new component that hasn’t even been created yet.

insert_options1

It’s not just the Pi Supply PoE that’s your only option either. The MoPi is also a great contender if you’re looking to use your own rechargable batteries (instead of the LiPo ones we’ll be providing) or want to use a 12v external battery or a solar panel that you may have from another project.

Based on your garden and distance to a power source, you could either run an Ethernet cable to the camera and use the Pi Supply PoE or you could use a MoPi and a suitable battery to keep the camera powered for longer if you so wished. If it’s solar you’re after then we do plan to have a solar add on kit available in the future to help you run the camera for longer and away from traditional power sources. That means you can place the camera where you’d like / in a truly remote location. Infact, with the MoPi you could turn the camera on at certain times of day and then off again at night to conserve power for example as it has a real time clock embedded – an extra bonus!

We’re going to make it as easy as possible for anyone wanting to add new power sources by uploading instructions and how-to guides to the website, so have a think about how you may want to power your Naturebytes camera and let us know if there’s a setup or component you think others should use for the job.

The Wildlife Cam Kit Feature List

Posted by Naturebytes

For quite some time now we’ve had an idea of exactly what the kit should do, the experience a user should have, and what the kit must include to make it awesome.

wildlife_cam_kit_feature_list

We’ve taken a break this morning to send you our latest newsletter and have posted a taster showing some of the cool features that will be shipping with the first kits. We’ve also included a little look at how we’re going to release supporting software (OS) so whether you’re a newcomer or an expert you can jump in at a level suited to you.

Here are 6 of the biggest features:

naturebytes_camera_feature1

The cam kit includes a Raspberry Pi A+ and Pi cam, or use your own Pi (it fits them all) with our editable component holder. The holder is laser cut so it’s super easy to use your own custom design to hold new components for example.

naturebytes_camera_feature2

The weatherproof enclosure’s unique triangulated design fully protects the internal electrical components from the elements and the hinged-clip design provides the user with easy access to the Pi’s ports and internal components.

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The 8800 mAh hour rechargeable Li-ion batteries will power the kit for a mighty 30 hours of constant use. The Li-ion battery can be easily charged by plugging in a mini USB charger. We’ve also included compartments for battery upgrades for those who want extra juice to power your kit for even longer.

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We’ve selected a premium infrared material with special properties to both shield the PIR sensor and ensure that it can detect wildlife up to its maximum potential range of 12 meters.

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In true Linux fashion, we’ll release new pre-configured, wildlife named OS downloads full of new activities and scripts – (Fantastic Fox being the first) for the community to use and contribute to. We’ll have activities for beginners that are quick and simple, and more in-depth activities such as slow motion video and image timelapse sequences for the experienced makers to get their teeth into.

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The kit is designed to be compatible with future software releases and hardware add-ons. Adding new capabilities and awesomeness to your Wildlife Cam Kit such as a solar charging panel or a different lens (fisheye, macro or wide angled) will let you do more with your kit and explore the natural world in completely new ways.

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