discussion / Camera Traps  / 11 April 2019

Who can construct an experimental camera trap device?

Hello everyone, 

I'm an ecologist at Princeton University and I'm trying to find someone to help me build a set of camera traps that play audio cues when triggered and video-recording animal responses. I have plans already for how to construct the devices (down to configurations of circuitboards, etc.) from a published paper (Suraci et al. 2017; https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/2041-210X.12711), but don't have the capacity myself to translate those plans into actual equipment. I reached out to the authors on the paper, but the tech they used to build the devices no longer makes them. I've contacted Microsoft's hardware development division, to the engineering department at my university, and pinged by friends who are engineers trying to find someone who had the capacity to help me physically make these devices, but with no luck. Does anyone know of a good place to go to get this kind of equipment made or the types of people I should be talking to? 

Thanks for your comments and suggestions! 

Hi snapshot_serengeti (Meredith?).

Would love to talk about it with you. If there are circuits available, we can take a look at them and see if there are equivalent chips with similar functionalities. Normally there are only one or two truly specialized chips on a board and the rest perform generic functions that are easily replaceable. If it falls into that category, it might not be too difficult to reproduce something similar to what they used. Otherwise, if there are a set of requirements, perhaps we can come up with something that fits those requirements instead. 

From the article, it sounds like they had external hardware that worked with existing camera traps (trail cams?). If so, this would be the easiest and fastest route to take. If it's a full camera trap from scratch, it might take a bit more thought, but still possible.


Actually the two circuits should be no problem. They're using very standard components, to the point where I think we can actually improve on them a bit. It looks like the circuit just turns on an off-the-shelf MP3 player and speaker. One idea is that we can actually incorporate the MP3 player and audio amplifier in the circuit. It depends on how long the MP3s are though. The MP3 player I have in mind is a small one that can hold around 5 mins total of various sounds and you can choose which sound to play. 

Anyways, shall we discuss in the thread or via PM?



@snapshot_serengeti and @akiba - if this works out and you get a prototype made together, Arribada would be interested in running a batch for you in a group sale to an initial small group of users with similar goals. Good luck! +1 achievement if you make a retro version and use a 1990's Sony Walkman tape player to generate the sounds :)