Children’s Forest Fire Detection System Deployed by Sony Europe!

November 25, 2009

LONDON, November 25 /PRNewswire/ –

– Potentially Life-Saving Invention Inspired by Children’s Real Life
Experience of Devastating Forest Fires

Sony Europe today announces that its partnership with a young team called
Forest Guard has reached a vital stage as the youngsters have the enormous
satisfaction of seeing their forest wildfire detection system idea deployed
in their local forest for testing.

The team of six, whose idea won the Climate Actions part of the global
FIRST(R) LEGO(R) League Children’s Climate Call competition in Copenhagen,
back in May 2009, impressed Sony executives so much that the company
offered to partner with the team to bring their idea to life. The team will
also return to Copenhagen during the United Nations Climate Change Conference
(COP15) to show the system to the world’s leading authorities on climate
change at the Bright Green Expo, 12-13 December 2009.

Their idea uses a network of solar-powered CCTV cameras and citizen fire
watchers over the web to obtain advance warning of wildfires before they
manage to spread. The team have been working hard with Sony engineers over
the summer resulting in an initial version of the system that is ready to be
tested in the team’s local Tahoe National Forest in California. The
University of Nevada, Reno is offering the project local support with Dr.

Graham Kent and his team helping test and maintain the network of cameras.

“We are so pleased we could bring our technology and engineering skills
to this project and help this young team’s idea become a reality”, says

Morgan David, Divisional Director, Research and Development (R&D) at Sony.
“To apply technology to help solve the problems of climate change is at the
heart of Sony’s philosophy and we will continue to collaborate with the
Forest Guard initiative and support this project.”

The Sony designs and software for the Forest Guard proof of concept will
be released into the public domain and a white paper will also be made
available so that the technology is available to all scientists, governments
and NGOs working to combat wildfires globally.

Forest Guard are acutely aware of the need for detecting forest wildfires
early. In September forest fires once again broke out near to them destroying
50 homes and 10 businesses in their local area. The families of Forest Guard
members, Ayden, Bobby, Faith and Drew, were evacuated from their homes as the
fire continued to burn closer to their properties.

Recounting the experience, eleven year old team member Ayden says: “The
smoke was bellowing high from the trees, like a big black cloud. Soon after
we were home, we were told to evacuate. My stomach knotted up. We went to my
aunt and uncle’s house and after a few hours, the fire was put out and we
went home. The next day I passed the destruction left by the fire; along the
highway we could see all the trees and homes that had been destroyed.”

The team are also keen to highlight the environmental impact these
devastating fires have – the carbon dioxide emitted during these fires can
equal that produced by several million cars on the road in a year and CO2
emissions by forest fires are expected to increase by 50% by 2050 if
something isn’t done.

It is these experiences that are bringing members of Forest Guard to
Denmark during COP15 in December. They will be exhibiting with Sony at the
Bright Green exhibition held next to COP15 to showcase how their idea can
make a difference globally to both people’s lives and carbon emissions. H.R.H
The Crown Prince of Denmark, the US Secretary of Commerce and the US
Ambassador to Denmark are dignitaries set to attend Bright Green alongside
General Manager of LEGO Education Jens Maibom and world famous inventor Dean

A documentary following the story of the Forest Guard idea that gives a
close insight into how their lives are affected by the devastating impact of
forest wildfires is currently being filmed and will be shown on national
broadcast channels.

Further information

The Forest Guard Team are also The Lego Guards, a FIRST LEGO League team
from Meadow Vista, California and includes Andrew Wood, 13; Aydan Potts, 11;

Alejandro Vega, 13; Bobby Huckins, 12; Faith Oakes, 13 and Drew Oakes, 10 and
they are mentored by team coach Heidi Buck. For more information about the
team and the project, go to http://www.forestguards.org

Children’s Climate Call was organized by FIRST Scandinavia and the LEGO
Group in partnership with IBM, NIRAS and Sony Europe. For more information
about the event and photos, go to http://www.childrensclimatecall.org

    Media contact:
    Claire Thacker, Corporate Communications,
    Sony Europe
    Tel: +44(0)1932-816000
    email: claire.thacker@eu.sony.com

For more information about Sony’s environmental initiatives go to


SOURCE Sony Europe

Source: newswire

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