Taking technology to the birds

C1 | Wed 23 Jan | 10:40 a.m.–11:25 a.m.

Presented by

  • Clare Mclennan

    Clare McLennan is a seasoned developer and agile development coach who has worked on a variety of projects including games, large-scale websites and test automation. She's passionate about the outdoors and the environment.

  • Menno Finlay-Smits

    Menno is an experienced software wrangler, currently working as the tech lead for the Cacophony Project. Both his professional career and personal projects have almost always revolved around Linux and open source software. He has helped to create systems to support a wide range of applications including automated vehicle guidance, embedded security appliances, data mining, financial trading and cloud software infrastructure. Menno currently enjoys the challenges of applying an open source technology approach to the problem of saving New Zealand's native birds from introduced predators. A typical day could feature a variety of themes including growing the Cacophony Project's open source community, managing a fleet of servers and embedded devices, guiding architectural decisions, and sometimes even writing software. He also runs the popular monthly Christchurch Python meetups.


The Cacophony Project is a small, open-source, non-profit with a gigantic vision. We aim to save New Zealand's native birds which are under threat from introduced predators such as possums, stoats, and rats. In the last couple of years we have been busy developing digital solutions to monitor native bird populations and eliminate their introduced predators. These solutions promise to be several magnitudes more effective than traditional approaches that are in use today. During our talk you will get to see and touch our thermal cameras and the machine learning model that we use to automatically identify animals. We will also talk about our latest developments such as using audio based lures and our software controlled trap replacements. As part our session we will also be discussing how we make open source for work us, as our project is not your average open source project. This is due to our compelling but expansive vision, the start up phase we are in, and that our work spans software, hardware and science. Come and see what a handful of people have been able to achieve with the help of our dedicated open source community! Linux Australia: http://mirror.linux.org.au/pub/linux.conf.au/2019/c1/Wednesday/Taking_technology_to_the_birds.webm YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La9-PLTfpHc