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Innovative hardware for recognizing biodiversity


As a lover of the outdoors, postdoc researcher Jacob Kamminga found his calling in the ARISE project at the University of Twente. This led to the founding of Ecomoni, a spin-off specialized in sensor technology for nest boxes with a unique AI application. The technologies that Jacob uses collect and analyze detailed data throughout the Netherlands. A groundbreaking application for measuring biodiversity.


It was no surprise that Jacob started working on a technical solution. “I once started as an MBO student, but during my HBO and Master's studies, I developed my expertise in electronics and learned all about embedded hardware. Combining that with my knowledge of AI and biodiversity in the Netherlands ensures that my passions come together at Ecomoni,” says Jacob enthusiastically. His main goal with Ecomoni is to provide researchers and government institutions insight into biodiversity to help them better understand nature. They developed a smart next box, which already gathered the necessary attention from the media


“In terms of technology, ARISE and Ecomoni are strongly intertwined,” says Jacob. For example, ARISE is developing a biodiversity infrastructure that recognizes all living species in the Netherlands, from the DNA in ditch water to soil fungi. They use cameras, microphones, and radars for this. Ecomoni continues where ARISE stops. Last year, Ecomoni's prototypes of the special nest boxes monitored what birds ate in Amsterdam and the Veluwe. “The results were astonishing, and the sensors, in combination with AI in the nest box, made this possible,” says Jacob.

The major advantage over existing wildlife cameras is that Ecomoni technology collects data, analyzes it directly, and then integrates it with the ARISE platform. This provides real-time, accurate insight into biodiversity and less registration work.


In addition to researchers, municipalities are interested in Ecomoni's technology. “Municipalities have to deal with the 'Green Deal' and the mandatory nature restoration law, but they often don't even know what exactly needs to be restored,” says Jacob. The technology in the Ecomoni nest boxes helps to make a baseline measurement so that it’s clear what kind of birds use nest boxes, what kind of insects are collected in the area, and how many young birds survive. “Ecologists and researchers are also happy with the technology because they no longer have to monitor all nest box activities manually. This gives them more time for research,” Jacob explains.


Jacob had been in contact with Novel-T on and off for a long time, but after his successful pilot with the nest boxes, they could no longer ignore each other. “Novel-T helped us with the first steps to turn Ecomoni into a spin-off and to obtain a take-off grant. With this money, we can take the steps necessary to launch Ecomoni on the market,” says Jacob.


Ecomoni is unique because the algorithm is fed daily with useful information from researchers from the ARISE project and vice versa. Jacob: “We work with the best researchers and can apply knowledge to new data daily.” Jacob wants to use Ecomoni as a flexible data platform in the future: “I want to measure with both hardware and software elements. Consider the noise level or air quality. With plans to do even more in the future, we want to show that preserving our natural world can go hand in hand with innovation."

"We want to show that preserving our natural world can go hand in hand with innovation."

Jacob Kamminga

Founder Ecomoni

More about

Ecomoni is a spin-off from the University of Twente that specializes in developing technological tools for ecologists. They aim to provide ecologists with advanced measuring tools that save time and energy so they can better focus on their research. Their latest invention is an intelligent nest box monitor. This module, which can be attached to a nest box, is equipped with a high-quality camera, advanced sensors, and AI technology, helping to observe and analyze the behavior of birds in nest boxes.

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