Keeping kiwi

The Internet of Things is helping the Orokonui Ecosanctuary care for its kiwi.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an ecological island wildlife reserve surrounded by a predator proof fence, just 20 km north of the centre of the city of Dunedin. Within the sanctuary is an area for kiwi, New Zealand’s iconic native bird. Visitors open a gate to enter this area, and are asked to close the gate behind them. They don’t always do so, which makes it more difficult for the staff to find their kiwi. 

Our Information Technology students have been working with the Ecosanctuary on a multi-year project. The students have visited the site on several occasions and talked with Orokonui Ecosanctuary staff to gain a full understanding of what was needed. They have designed, constructed, and tested prototypes at Otago Polytechnic and then on site. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) device uses a magnetic sensor to detect when the gate is open, then transmits that information over long range low frequency wifi to notify Ecosanctuary staff. The casing for the device is 3D printed. The project has expanded so that the students are now working on devices for all the different gates in the predator-proof perimeter fence as well. Each device will run for a year on 3 AA batteries, so is very sustainable operationally for this not-for-profit organisation.

November 2019