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Just funded on Kickstarter, Terra Project aims to create a network of devices that track migration while letting people livestream nature's soundtrack into their home. After being placed in a backyard or other outdoor setting and hooked up to a wifi network, Terra's weatherproof, saucer-shaped device picks up bird calls and other wildlife sounds and broadcasts them to a user's speakers or headphones.
Human voices, traffic and other man-made sounds are filtered out through digital signal processing — which also addresses privacy concerns — leaving a real-time version of the natural soundscapes that rack up millions of streams on YouTube and Spotify. Terra also automatically identifies which birds are picked up by its microphone, giving people a deeper understanding of birds they share a habitat with.
But Terra is about more than entertainment and education. By listening in on night-time flight calls — periodic chirps and cheeps — the New Jersey-based company collects data on which birds are passing by. It can also detect radio-tagged birds. That information is sent to a central database and processed along with data from other Terra devices, and made freely available to researchers worldwide to help track migration patterns.