This week, we’ll be taking a deep dive into a provocative topic: drones. For all the rhetoric, you might think think that this is a zero sum game: Drones will either destroy the world, or they’ll save it. The truth, of course, is that, well, they’re set to do both. Sophisticated developments see extraordinary advances […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Lian Pin Koh is a relentless tinkerer and science fiction movie geek, though most know him as an environmental scientist. His dreams of combining these interests led him to cofound, with colleague Serge Wich, the site ConservationDrones.org, a project dedicated to gathering intelligence on forests and wildlife through the use of low-cost unmanned flying machines.
Ground surveys are expensive, and are not conducted at a sufficient frequency. Furthermore, some remote tropical forests have never been really surveyed for biodiversity. Koh's machines have already collected valuable information in Sumatra, Congo, Gabon, and Madagascar.
He is an assistant professor of applied ecology and conservation at the ETH Zurich.
What others say
“Although it's still the "dawn of drone ecology," as one innovator calls it, these unmanned aerial vehicles are already skimming over Indonesia's jungle canopy to photograph orangutans, protecting rhinos in Nepal and studying invasive aquatic plants in Florida... A conservation drone pioneer, Lian Pin Koh of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, says the idea came to him after another sweaty, jungle slog in Sabah, Malaysia, hauling heavy equipment for his field work.” — Denis D. Gray, USA Today
Lian Pin Koh’s TED talk
Lian Pin Koh on the TED Blog
At TEDGlobal 2013 environmental systems researcher Lian Pin Koh presents a new and unexpectedly benign use for drones: nature conservation. Nepal has natural landscapes that are beautiful — and in danger. But wildlife conservation is costly, and time- and labor-consuming. Behold: Conservation drones, a new tool being used in Nepal to combat wildlife crime. These […]Continue reading
When it comes to drones, a lot of ideas float in the ether. Technologists see potential for flying machines to help us in all sorts of unexpected ways, governments take measures that seem hard and fixed, and meanwhile the media oversimplifies and dramatizes the issue. The conversation on drones is ever changing — especially with […]Continue reading