Topher White: What can save the rainforest? Your used cell phone


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The sounds of the rainforest include: the chirps of birds, the buzz of cicadas, the banter of gibbons. But in the background is the almost-always present sound of a chainsaw, from illegal loggers. Engineer Topher White shares a simple, scalable way to stop this brutal deforestation — that starts with your old cell phone.
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About Topher

Topher is an engineer and physicist. He is passionate about creating and inventing. At a young age, he started creating apps and websites, after having learned the basics about computers from his father. After obtaining a Bachelor's Degree from Kenyon College, he worked as a web chief for ITER, the international consortium that is building a nuclear fusion reactor in southern France. However, a year later he made a sudden career change and moved to California, where he worked on a sports website for fans called Enthuse. Nevertheless, he wasn’t truly satisfied with his work until he become involved with protecting the environment and its deforestation. As a volunteer at an ape sanctuary in Indonesian Borneo, he stumbled upon loggers illegally cutting a tree into two-by-fours. This gave him the idea to reprogram used cellphones  to detect the sounds made by chain saws and send out alerts to the rangers. In 2012 he founded Rainforest Connection, which converts used cellphones into solar-powered listening devices. Topher's invention has has put a stop to lots of illegal logging in Sumatra. His system is now being used by other three more countries; namely Indonesia, Brazil, and Africa.
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