Wearable Bracelet to Save Dwindling Rhino Population


Intel has been making a concerted effort to integrate their technology in meaningful ways lately, particularly with wearable technology. The newest innovation for the company is an anti-poaching smart bracelet for rhinos to help reinvigorate the black rhino population.

 

The need for black rhino conservation is a desperate one, with only a fraction of the population remaining. According to the WWF, the population of black rhinos in 1981 was around 10,000-15,000 and dramatically fell to 2,475 only 12 years later. While the population has begun to rise again due to strong anti-poaching efforts, the black rhino population still needs all the help it can from going extinct, which is where Intel comes in.

 

Rhino Ankle Collar

Workers of the Madikwe Conservation Project strap a kevlar-based ankle collar to a sedated rhino.
Source: IQ.Intel.com

 

Using Intel’s Galileo motherboards complete with processor, 3G, and data storage, anti-poaching teams are able to detect any trouble ideally before it even happens. They are able to do this firstly through an effort by Vodafone providing wireless connectivity, allowing the encrypted geolocation and movement data to be sent to a cloud that the team can access, keeping track of the rhinos at all time.

 

Getting the ankle bracelet on the 1.5 ton rhino is no simple undertaking, or even keeping it on the gigantic animal for that matter. As far as durability is concerned, the Galileo motherboard was encased in a Kevlar-based material that also features a solar panel, keeping it safe and running through just about anything a rhino might encounter. After proper sedation, while the rhino is getting the ankle bracelet attached the team also embeds a tiny RFID chip into the rhino’s horn that sends notifications when a break in proximity between the chip and the bracelet has occured. Once detected, they can send in teams to stop poachers, knowing the exact location of the situation.

 

The efforts by Intel, Vodafone, and the anti-poaching teams mark an encouraging trend of action against poachers that will hopefully only grow with the further development of such technology. For more information on Intel’s conservation efforts, check out the story here.

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