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The Haikubox Brings High-Tech Birding to the Masses

For bird watchers, having the ability to identify birds by their song may be the holy grail. Some individuals appear to be naturals, hearing a song once and remembering it forever. If you are like menot among those peopleyou’ve probably had the idea, Why isn’t there a Shazam for birds? Surely if Shazam can identify a song with a couple of seconds of bad audio playing over some blown-out speakers, someone can work out how to do exactly the same for a bird singing clearly in a nearby tree.

That, the bottom line is, is what the creators of the Haikubox have donecreated the Shazam of birdsong.

That alone is welcome and remarkable, however the Haikubox actually is a lot more than that. It’s among the rare bits of technology that truly increases your link with the planet around you, instead of cutting you off.

Neural Net

Bird migration started early this season. I understand this because my Haikubox explained. Not in so many words, nonetheless it started announcing new warblers arriving by the center of August, this means they’re already heading south with their winter grounds in Central and SOUTH USA.

With a complete time job and three kids, I don’t possess time to escape and go birding each day. I likely could have missed the Cape May warblers if they came through for 2-3 weeks by the end of August. They never stay long, and I usually thought they stuck to the birch clearings an excellent mile up the street. Because of the Haikubox, I understand that while they do have a tendency to spend their days elsewhere, they go by my home in the mornings. I could see them as the Haikubox alerted me whenever it heard one.

This is actually the magic of the Haikuboxit expands your world.

Photograph: Haikubox

For something so remarkable, the Haikubox is decidedly prosaic to look at. It is a 4 x 6-inch rounded-square box that’s about 2 inches thick. On underneath is really a sealed exit for the energy cord and a little microphone that records sounds round the Haikubox. As the device is weather-resistant, and I’ve had no trouble with it in the torrential rain, the business recommends keeping it out of sunlight. Don’t submerge it. After you have an excellent spot, plug it in and connect it to your Wi-Fi network via the Haikubox Connect app. The Haikubox begins recording audio 24/7.

That is the end of the hardware, but that isn’t where in fact the magic really lies. Once linked to your wireless network, the Haikubox sends its recorded sounds to servers at the world-renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Ornithology Lab has a large number of birdsong samples and a neural net for processing them. Neural networks certainly are a type of machine-learning software suitable to recognizing patterns in audioit’s how Siri and Google Assistant understand your voice. Likewise, the neural net can filter bird songs from background noise. And discover patterns, it first must learn what the pattern is. Cornell’s library of birdsong recordings supplies the training that the AI must learn which sounds are bird songs and those are you currently watering the garden.

Cornell has been tweaking its neural net for quite a while. If you want to experience this without purchasing a Haikubox, it is possible to grab Cornell’s Merlin Bird ID app, which uses small subset of the info and an AI processor much like what the Haikubox uses. Haikubox creator David Mann told WIRED that the Haikubox runs on the modified version of BirdNet, to create BirdNet for Haikubox.

Neither BirdNet nor BirdNet for Haikubox is ideal, but it’s impressively accurate more often than not. Even better, you may use the Haikubox app to greatly help the AI improve.

Multiple Views

Haikubox via Scott Gilbertson

To see which birds your Haikubox has heard and attemptedto identify, you may use the Haikubox app for Android, iOS, or the web-based interface. The 1st time you open the app you setup an account, and you can sign in via that account from any device. The info in each app may be the same, and I used all three throughout my testing. I came across the mobile app more ideal for notifications, but I preferred to undergo and explore the species info in the net app, since i have could open eBird along with other extra info in background tabs.

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