Trees: they’re good for more than just shade, harboring wildlife, and carbon storage. A new sensor system developed by Voltree Power uses the energy produced by trees to wirelessly transmit signals with information about forest fires.
The system is powered by off-the-shelf batteries that are slowly charged by the small amounts of electricity produced by trees.
Scientists only recently discovered that trees produce energy generated from an imbalance in pH between a tree and its surrounding soil. The forest fire warning sensor is the first real-world application of this knowledge.
The system wirelessly transmits information about temperature and humidity four times a day from sensor to sensor until the info reaches a weather station that beams the data by satellite to a forestry center in Idaho.
Voltree’s sensor is a big improvement over current forest fire warning technologies. Remote automated weather stations are expensive, and manually recharging batteries at hard-to-reach locations is also costly. In contrast, the Voltree system maintains itself and only requires cheap batteries.
With forest fires getting bigger and more out of control every year, fire-prone areas should welcome the arrival of the tree-powered sensor.
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