The Mechatronics Lab at Northwestern served as the first incubator for the project, and all of the early prototypes were developed there. Through the Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN), we have received initial grant funding and introductions to The Nature Conservancy and Gore Tex.
The Nature Conservancy has been a longtime partner of Renoster in conducting gunshot testing trials. Renoster held the first trials at the Jim Castes Applied Research Center in Oregon in July 2019, and there will be future testing in southern Illinois at the end of Summer 2020.
Our first on-site trial occurred at Thornybush Game Reserve just outside of Kruger National Park, South Africa in August 2019. Upon success in several tests across the parts of the savannah, Thornybush reached an agreement of development with Renoster. Since then, Thornybush has been a champion of the technology, inviting Renoster back fro a second round of trials and being an advocate for adoption to fight rhino poaching in the region.
Dealing with extreme deviations in the environment is a key issue for any engineering product in the savannah. Within a year of deployment, a unit may endure extreme heat, dust, wind and rain damage. As a result, units must be waterproof. GoreTex, and its parent company WL Gore, shared their acoustic venting solution with Renoster to aid in these efforts. The vent is a semi-permeable membrane that allows sound waves to travel through undeterred but is too granular to allow water droplets - effectively creating a water resistant seal. This allowed the innovation of having units able to have a UV-protected enclosure that could protect from the extreme heat, while also maintaining acoustic ability.
ICC Networking is rolling out TV White Space, a high speed internet protocol that runs over radio in unused frequency bands. Initially developed b the US Military to aid communications in mountainous terrain, TVWS has since been commercialized and is being put to use in bringing ubiquitous internet access to remote regions. Line-of-sight allows for a range up to 50km, while non-line of sight allows a range up to 10 km. ICCN is working to bring TVWS into the Limpopo Province in South Africa where ThornyBUsh is based, and they are bringing Renoster on as a key vendor on their platform. Through this access, Renoster base stations will be able to use newly built internet infrastructure to eliminate latency in response times.