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Rainforest Connection: How Recycled Smartphones Are Fighting Illegal Logging

Can old smartphones help combat climate change by preventing illegal tree cutting in the rainforests of the world? What??How?

Come and meet Topher White, founder of Rainforest Connection and see live demo of turning old Android smartphones into solar-powered listening stations that can detect the noise of chainsaws in real-time and then send an alert to local agencies. 

The San Francisco-based startup, called Rainforest Connection, has partnered with the Zoological Society of London for the project. The plan is to initially deploy devices that are capable of protecting 200 to 300 kilometers of forest in the canopy of rainforests in Africa and Brazil this year. 

More about his project on Kickstarter

Rainforest Connection in the news...


5:30 pm -Dinner/Drinks /Mingling/Recuriting

6:15 pm -Opening show

6:30 pm -Topher White 

7:10 pm - Q&A

7:30 pm - Give Away

How to find us: TechXploration takes place at PayPal HQ at Town Hall, which is facing North First Street.

Public Transit Info: PayPal Town Hall is directly across the street from the Karina Station of VTA/Light Rail in San Jose, CA.

Parking Info: All unmarked spots at PayPal HQ are up for grabs. When you pull into the campus, look for Town Hall (large building says "Town Hall" above doors, faces North First) and then park where you'd like.

Please encourage your guests to register and RSVP themselves for a more fluid check-in.

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Wanna help? Simply bring your old used android phones to donate :)

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  • Bea

    Very inspiring to see a talented young guy focus his time and energy on making the world a better place to live. You rock, Topher!

    4 · August 27, 2014

    • Chang (Chloe) L.

      Thanks for sharing the inspiration Bea!

      August 27, 2014

    • Ali K.

      Chang thanks for another fantastic event at PayPal...!!

      1 · August 28, 2014

  • Shiva B.

    I have attended few talks at PayPal but this was the best one till date. I thought the whole project was a trivial one but complexities involved in implementation were very well dealt with. The project had complexities in multiple domains like Android Firmware changes, Software, Solar Power, Carrying the equipment on motorcycle to remote places in the forest, Rugged design to withstand nature etc. Very interesting talk indeed. Thanks for organizing this!

    3 · August 28, 2014

    • Shiva B.

      Forgot to mention one more important thing. Food and Beer were just great like always.

      2 · August 28, 2014

  • Mike B.

    Good food (mentioned first because it came first), good beer( because it was REALLY good beer) and the presentation was polished, detailed and conveyed a strong message of worthiness and practical approach to solution. The Q&A dug into it more and cleared up concerns on many fronts about the thought processes to attack the problem. I am confident great strides will be made to slowing the destruction of our best defense against global warming through this simple and elegant strategy to get fast notification of illegal logging in very remote locations through solar-powered smartphones with added custom hardware and software!

    Great job, Topher and PayPal!

    7 · August 27, 2014

  • Bob C.

    I would be interested a technical overview of the software mods on the smartphones and how they communicate. I have found nothing online that is technical. Will the speaker get into the technology?

    1 · August 26, 2014

    • Topher W.

      I'm really glad that you asked—yes, my intention is to spend the last ~3/5 of the talk on the technical processes and challenges. We'll start with hardware and move into the software. Also, in the event that I don't address one of your interests/questions, we can certainly take some time after the talk to get into it. I hope you'll come and bring some others too! Thanks.

      2 · August 26, 2014

    • Chang (Chloe) L.

      Thanks Topher! :)

      August 26, 2014

  • Fay

    I heard about this project on Kickstarter before. So excited to go! TechX is the best!

    2 · August 18, 2014

  • Pattie

    I just read an article about Rainforest Connection. I think it's awesome what they are doing to protect rainforest with recycled phones. I look forward to hear more.

    2 · August 11, 2014

    • Chang (Chloe) L.

      Hi Pattie, thanks for your kind words! Looking forward to having you at the event!

      August 12, 2014

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