Natural disasters have caused a ton of damage to home owners, businesses, and even the government. For floods, the Department of Natural Resources of Australia and Penguin Labs have devised a DIY flood-triggered automated camera system that would takeimages of a cave flood (when it floods) in order to study the water flow and how it affects the environment. Mainly, a “water switch” is used to detect water in the device with solar power to keep the device charged with power.
A water flow gauging station was once installed at Sculpture Cave, Cutta Cutta Caves National Park (NT, Australia) in 1997 and reinstated in 2001 to continue monitoring until the removal of the device in early 2008. During this period, significant inflows into the cave were recorded – one being a figure of 8000 L/s during the peak of the wet season. Flow of this magnitude has significant effects on the surrounding groundwater aquifers. As such, it was determined to be in the interests of the Department of Natural Resources (Water Resources) to install an unmanned camera system that would capture images during flow periods in order to visually observe the intensity of such events.
Gadgets like this interest me very much because natural disasters cannot be prevented but with good engineering and analysis, they can be predicted plus something can be done to “reduce” its actual damage on the environment/inhabitats.
Even if you are not trying to monitor flood, I think there’s a lot of great information you can take from this camera system and apply it to other real world problems.