Blog

Posted by Alex, 06 June 2016

We have now deployed over 50 acoustic cicada detectors in the New Forest so far and are now waiting for some warm sunny days. The detectors wake up every five seconds during the middle of the day and listen for the song of the cicada. If they detect something that sounds promising they’ll make a 30 second recording. We check on the detectors every couple of weeks and will be moving them around to cover promising areas - sunny south-facing clearings where the cicada can sit in a tree sunning itself throughout the hottest part of the day.

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Posted by Alex, 03 November 2015

As anyone who’s been following these blogs will know, we still haven’t found the cicada. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still there in some as yet undiscovered spot. In 2016, as well as the existing approach with the CicadaHunt smartphone app, we’ll also be deploying small low cost cicada detectors. These combine a small low-power microprocessor and a sensitive microphone, and are capable of detecting and recognising the high frequency calls of the cicada. We’re hoping to deploy 100 of these detectors at prime spots in the forest (sunny south-facing clearings). The detectors originate from a large project ...

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Posted by Davide, 30 July 2014

Today I wanted to share with you something a bit more technical about the call of the cicada. You may have seen on twitter that a few days ago we got excited about a very promising recording that triggered our cicada detection. It turned out to be, most likely, the very common Roesel's bush-cricket, in the picture here. This bush-cricket is actually an insect that our algorithm is capable of classifying, normally at a good level of accuracy. It starts singing as the cicada season is coming to an end, around mid-July. But the most tricky aspect is that its ...

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Posted by Davide, 15 April 2014

In preparation for the new season of cicada hunting, we have been busy improving the algorithm that powers our app, and trying to understand where people have searched for this mysterious insect last year. Two of the things that interest us most are, of course, why have we not found it yet and what can we do next year to maximise our chances. In this process, the important question is, has every inch of the forest been covered at least once in sunny warm days when cicadas could have been singing? Not quite, but we are not far. Have a ...

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Posted by Davide, 26 September 2013

Just a quick post to say thank you very much to all the visitor of the British Science Festival and the BBC Summer of Wildlife who stopped by the New Forest cicada stand. The British Science Festival is a big event held annually in Newcastle, where lots of schools have a chance to engage in Science. We were there for almost a week and it was great fun. The BBC Summer of Wildlife is a series wildlife events–as the name suggests. We went to the closing event and received great interest from a range of people from the expert naturalist, ...

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