Customer Success Stories

Using Altium’s Solutions to Save Wildlife Worldwide

“I've always felt that technology, if applied appropriately, could be an answer to solving some of the big challenges we face in wildlife conservation.”

Eric Dinerstein, Director of Nightjar and Wildlife Expert, RESOLVE Trailguard AI

As far back as 1977, RESOLVE has strived to make the world a better place with solutions for some of its toughest challenges. Director and Wildlife expert Eric Dinerstien joined the organization after 26 years at the World Wildlife Fund and founded the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program. Their mission was to combat human-wildlife conflict and poaching in particular—which has put many animal species at risk of extinction within our lifetime. Their goal was to change a world where an elephant falls victim to poachers every 15 minutes.

But national parks are too sprawling to be patrolled by rangers alone. So, the team started experimenting with new kinds of technology and concluded that a network of cameras that can be hidden along trails to automatically detect threats would likely prove invaluable for conservation. RESOLVE then turned to Intel for help developing a camera-based alert system that helps keep animals safe from harm.

Enter: TrailGuard AI.


About Trailguard AI

At its simplest, TrailGuard AI is a burglar alarm for national parks that helps detect unwanted visitors such as poachers, illegal loggers, miners, and so on.

The system is small enough to be concealed along park trails and includes an AI-enabled camera that detects both human and animal activity. When triggered, it automatically feeds images to park headquarters, giving rangers a chance to intercept unwanted visitors and act before it’s too late. 

TrailGuard AI not only identifies humans, but recognizes a range of animals that roam around human settlements. This helps prevent issues such as tiger attacks on communities, elephants getting hit by passing trains, and other hazards that may cause harm to both animals and humans, intentional or not

Working as a distributed team across continents

“We have engineers in Romania that work on the design, engineers in India, and ourselves here in the US. Our challenge is how do we exchange our ideas?”

Eric Dinerstein, Director of Nightjar and Wildlife Expert, RESOLVE Trailguard AI

The Challenging Road to Development

Developing a system to preserve wildlife comes with a slew of unique challenges. For starters, members of the engineering team were distributed around the world in different time zones and languages—making seamless collaboration all the more crucial.

Throughout the early stages of product development, communication issues became increasingly exhaustive and inefficient—with full conversations unraveling over a series of texts and screenshots shared via email. This way of working led to slow progress and problematic misunderstandings as the team tried to explore solutions. Miscommunication caused difficulties conceptualizing ideas, generating blueprints, and sharing them with engineers. 

With such an important task at-hand, RESOLVE needed the right tools to help their engineering efforts while enabling more effective collaboration around the globe

Bridging the Gap 

On its own, Altium Designer offers a single unified environment providing engineers with all the tools they need for seamless PCB design. When combined with Altium 365, these solutions can significantly improve collaborative capabilities such as sharing designs and performing reviews–which is exactly what RESOLVE needed.

Altium makes collaboration easier

“Altium 365 allows a review to be done in the browser, which makes it very, very convenient because everyone has access to that without having to have any specialized software on their machine.”

Steve Gulick, Chief Technology Officer and Wildlife Expert, RESOLVE Nightjar


Pairing Altium Designer and Altium 365 allowed engineering teams working on TrailGuard AI to:

  • Streamline development through real-time communication and exchange of ideas that helped teams find and correct mistakes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
  • Collaborate seamlessly on the latest designs with version control to keep track of changes and suggestions. Teams could review the Schematic, PCB, 3D view, and BOM while commenting, cross-probing, and measuring on the latest designs with ease. 
  • Make less errors with built-in features that oversee the PCB design being developed using Design Rules to define requirements and a PCB health check monitor that can help identify issues.
  • Make faster decisions to keep up with the nature of their work. In the fast-paced world of wildlife preservation, making decisions in hours instead of days can be a matter of life or death. 

Altium helps RESOLVE achieve their goal to save more wildlife

“I've been working on this for more than a quarter of my life, but had I had the right tools at the right time, it would've come to fruition much sooner. And in the course of that, because of the application, it would've saved countless animals.”

Steve Gulick, Chief Technology Officer and Wildlife Expert, RESOLVE Nightjar

By partnering with Intel and Altium, TrailGuard AI was successfully brought to its fruition and has demonstrated success at preventing poaching,acting as a force multiplier, and improving safety of rangers on the front lines. An early version of TrailGuard rapidly paid dividends yielding 30 arrests and the seizures of over 1,300 lbs of bushmeat along with many snares, weapons, and vehicles used by poachers.

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