Probably not your typical commuter chit-chat but when neighbours Serge Wich, an LJMU primatologist, and Steven Longmore, an astrophysicist at ARI, got talking on the train to work one day they realised by joining forces they could develop an innovative solution to help protect endangered wildlife.
By combining drone technology, used by conservationists, and thermal imaging cameras, used by astronomers, they are able to detect and classify the heat signatures of animals. The team are capturing the unique thermal profiles of rhinos, baboons and other residents of Knowsley Safari Park to build up a library of signatures. By accessing this library, researchers around the world will have an easier job of classifying, tracking and monitoring endangered species in the wild.
Not only useful to researchers, the combined technology can also help wildlife rangers prevent poaching while making their jobs less dangerous. This same technology can be applied in search and rescue operations and as a way for farmers in developing countries to track their livestock.