Colchester County High School for Girls – Years 10-11
Our project, GerAInt, is an AI-powered automatic feeder designed to support endangered species by providing food to specific animals. It ensures all the food goes to the endangered species and would allow conservationists to gain insight into population sizes in certain areas. The system also has an emergency override that lets it provide food to any animal in times of need, such as a famine or drought.
We calibrated our prototype to Eurasian red squirrels as they are in rapid decline in the UK due to habitat loss and the introduction of grey squirrels. Red squirrels are vital to the UK ecosystem as they are adapted to spread the seeds of coniferous trees, whereas grey squirrels prefer deciduous trees, which already have birds spreading their seeds. This also impacts the wider environment as conifers are more effective at storing carbon.
GerAInt works by detecting motion using a PIR, which causes the camera to take a picture (turning on an LED first if it’s dark). The picture is sent to Google’s Cloud Vision and its contents returned. Our program then checks if the image contains the programmed species and, if it does, triggers the servo motor to open a gap for the food to leave the feeder. It then flashes an LED inside the feeder, using a light sensor to measure the level of remaining food, and alerts the owner if it’s low.
It’s easy to adjust GerAInt to any animal of a similar size and scale it up or down – it would be a simple case of altering the dispensing mechanism to cater for different food.