Questions? We have answers.
Need help with something? Send us a message. We would love to chat with you about Terra. You can also browse through our FAQs to get the answers you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Great question! Terra uses a very important characteristic of birds called flight calls. Most birds migrate at night, and when they do they let out periodic little chirps and cheeps - flight calls - that are specific to their species. In other words, they call out their names! So by listening to the sky we can hear exactly what species are flying over, and in what volumes. With a group of Terras, we will be able to accurately track those migrations all over the country, and eventually the world.
Aside from it being fun? Well for one thing, recent studies have shown that listening to natural sounds can help relax and focus your mind, and reduce stress levels. Connecting to nature can be an almost spiritual experience for many people, and being able to listen while you work, sleep, or just relax is an easy way to get reconnected.
Nope! The device and companion app are both easy and simple to use (only requiring basic setup and instructions). We offer full support as well – just contact us and we’re available to answer any questions you may have about using the device and app.
Terra setup should be a seamless and simple process. Terra will include a modular mounting kit that will let you attach it to a wall, a deck, a railing, or simply stake it in your garden or lawn. Power is supplied by a flat cable, which can be plugged in indoors or outside. The flat cable will easily run under a closed window.
We're planning on it! A solar module (probably in conjunction with a battery) is high on our list, and we will prioritize it as an accessory. Our funding will probably dictate how quickly that happens, but it's definitely on our roadmap.
The app connects in one easy step, and once you're connected you don't need to do anything else. Bluetooth and wifi connectivity with your phone allows you to connect to speakers and other external devices, or you can listen through headphones.
We don't have the app in hand yet, so we have a lot of decisions to make about how it works. It's possible that there will be a subscription for certain premium services on the app, but you'll always be able to use Terra's core functions for free. Our goal is to make information accessible and connect people to nature, so we won't make any decisions that would make Terra financially prohibitive to use, and we'll err on the side of keeping our community connected rather than trying to make an extra dollar.
Yes! You can take Terra with you anywhere – helping you discover rare wildlife away from your home as well. Whether you’re camping in the northern woods, experiencing desert parks overnight, or down in the Florida Everglades – you’ll make jaw-dropping discoveries with Terra!
Most of the functions of Terra will work worldwide! You’ll be able to listen live, connect to curated sites, upload data to the central Terra database, and monitor sensors in your yard. The one part of the Terra app that may not work immediately is the sound recognition function, which identifies what birds/animals Terra hears. We’ll be prioritizing that function in the US/Canada first, then the UK and Europe, and then the rest of the world (probably starting with Australia and New Zealand, then South and Central America, etc). Our funding will probably affect how quickly we’re able to create a complete identification tool, and it will be an ongoing process.
Yes, it's a question of how soon. Our plan is to start with North American birds and then expand out to other parts of the world, likely starting with the UK. The speed at which we do that is going to be partly dependent on the funds we raise, and on how quickly we can implement our algorithms. But rest assured that Terra is not a US only product! We want people to use it around the world.
By tracking the sounds nearby each Terra device, we can map out bird migration paths and estimate overall populations – since each bird species can be identified by their unique “flight calls” and sound patterns. Previously, scientists and researchers needed to individually mark and track birds – which is far less efficient than using Terra across the globe.
The Internet of Wildlife is an innovative concept developed at CTT to help gather data from radio-tagged birds. Large birds carry larger transmitters, and so they have longer battery life and range, and connect with cell or radio towers more frequently. Small birds have small transmitters (no more than 3% of their body weight), so their devices are weaker and have less range. In order collect data from all these transmitters more frequently, CTT created a system that allows transmitters to not only connect to radio and cell towers, but to each other! That way, if a small bird passes an eagle, that small bird's data will get downloaded to the eagle's transmitter, and then passed on next time the eagle passes a receiving tower. That's the Internet of Wildlife! It's amazing to think that we could have birds way up in the arctic no where near a receiving tower, but that a wandering eagle will still pick up their data and bring it back into range as it travels south. Pretty cool!
Not yet - bats use frequencies that are beyond normal microphones (over 20 KHz), and require special equipment to pick up. But once the Terra project is going, we'd like to produce either a version of Terra or an accessory that will extend its listening range into those specialized frequencies.
Terra features Digital Signal Processing, or DSP. You will have control over some of these parameters. Notch filters can be used to filter out specific frequencies such as hums from air conditioners, pool pumps, and other continuous mechanical noises. Band pass, low pass and high pass filters can be used to filter out certain frequency ranges, such as road noise, cars, wind, etc. Terra will work to identify some of these common noises to help you filter out what you don’t want automatically. No filtering technology is perfect, but unnatural noises will be greatly reduced.
No, only you are able to listen to your Terra.
Much like how smart speakers and smart home devices can detect your voice, we also use it to detect it when a human is talking. We then mix in pleasant artificial utterances that make it extremely difficult to impossible to understand what is being said. While no obfuscation technology is perfect, we believe that this will discourage the use of Terra for eavesdropping and other security applications, and protect you and your neighbors’ privacy -- even more so than popular security camera products. Since only you can listen to your own Terra, and only processed bird song is sent to our servers for analysis on an opt-in basis, we believe that Terra provides you with a high degree of privacy while providing wonderful listening enjoyment.
Terra does not record continuous audio. You can only listen to your own Terra, live.
If a bird song candidate is detected, only that audio is sent securely to our servers for analysis. The bird song candidate sound also has high pass filtering, further reducing the unintentional recording of human voice. It’s important to us to keep your privacy intact, so we’ll make sure that the technology accomplishes that.
Audio is also securely transmitted over Bluetooth locally within your home and securely transmitted and encrypted to your mobile device. Note that some local jurisdictions outside USA, Canada, UK, EU, AU/NZ have special requirements and we will comply with any local regulations.
Terra will ship worldwide. Note that due the the recent volatility the world shipping prices, we just need to make sure that we ship out products at the correct shipping cost, so there may be an adjustment at time of shipping for pre-orders. In addition, the supporter is responsible for VAT, taxes, customs duties and any other special costs associated with shipping.
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