Discarded Android phones protect rainforests from loggers

The usual refrain is that smartphones can do anything, but we doubt too many people can boast that their RAZR MAXX is helping to rescue the rainforests of Indonesia. Enter a new project called Rainforest Connection, which is building a security network of devices in the Air Tarusan reserve in western Sumatra to prevent illegal logging. Donated Android smartphones are being modified to use solar power before being dangled from trees with their microphones switched on. When the handsets pick up the sound of a chainsaw, they relay an emergency message to local rangers who can then intervene. Future plans involve using large numbers of recycled handsets and making the system easy enough for locals to hook up further networks by themselves. Just one more reason not to throw out that moribund smartphone.