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The IoT zoo

Machine learning builds a better bed for nyalas 

We've produced an innovative application of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the field... literally, in the field.

Marwell Zoo is building better beds for their animals with IoT and machine learning. They started with nyalas, deer-like creatures that are part of Marwell WIldlife's aim to conserve species and their habitats, locally and globally.

Using Watson IoT Platform, the park’s keepers have worked with IBM to reduce their carbon footprint and create a cosy environment for their animals. All without compromising habitat quality.

And as you can see from our photo of nyalas, the nyalas are not camera shy.
Components installed in the animal living quarters at the zoo include heat sensors and Raspberry Pi hardware and a spot of 3D printing, in conjunction with IBM Cloud, the Watson IoT Platform, and technologies developed by our Hursley technicians: Node-RED and MQTT.

From this prototype, follow-on activity began to train a neural net classifier based on the gathered data, and improve animal recognition. Extending this "nyala neural net" led on to considering further instrumentation across the park - for the comfort of the animals, the efficiency of the park, and even to enhance the experience of visitors.
Beyond that, there's further potential for other zoos, theme parks, and even public transport.

The solution detects the presence of animals, but can also be used to identify what queue lines are like at the zoo. Come and see our demo, to see how it can detect you. And if you're doing your impression of a nyala, don't forget to smile, deer.


IBM UK Lab Campus, Hursley,
Winchester, Hampshire,
SO21 2JN
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