Heart of Borneo Expedition Team uses Toughbook 30 in Rainforest Exploration

The Heart of Borneo is a sustainably managed and extremely biodiverse rainforest found in Borneo, the world’s third largest island, located in Southeast Asia. This area is shared between Indonesia in the south and Malaysia and Brunei in the North. With roughly 140,000 miles of rainforest, this area of Borneo’s interior is almost completely unknown to science with over 50 new species discovered in the area over just the past five years.

To learn more about the island, a team of European and Indonesian explorers, scientists and filmmakers established the Heart of Borneo Charity to explore the unknown species and indigenous people in the region. The team’s research would in turn be used to inform the media, empower local people and provide teachers with an educational resource, which can potentially help conserve one of the most biodiverse and threatened areas of the rainforest.

To assist in exploration, the team received donated laptops. However, with torrential downpours, 100% humidity and other challenges – from river crossings to mud pits – the expedition team quickly realized that ordinary laptops would not suffice. In fact, one of the team’s laptops failed after only 48 hours at camp.

After hearing about the exploration team’s situation, Panasonic Computer Products Europe, which markets the Toughbook brand in the EU, loaned the charity Toughbook 30 mobile computers. The team now had reliable and fully-rugged devices built to withstand the extreme operating conditions and which would enable the scientists to remain in contact with the outside world.

“The Toughbook PCs have been solid and dependable. Not even a hiccup. Knowing we can rely on them to work has helped us sleep much better at night,” said Martin Holland, Founder and Executive Director of The Heart of Borneo Charity. “Being able to use them on location whatever the weather, out on boats or 5km into the rainforest from our camp has been incredibly helpful. The Toughbook units have been invaluable in saving the rainforest.”

Additionally, with the Toughbook computers’ exceptional battery life, the team was able to travel longer distances from the camp and conserve generator energy for extended periods of time. During the expedition, the team used the laptops to record results from “video trap” cameras looking to spot rare and new species.

The Toughbook computers enable the team to check the day’s footage on the spot instead of waiting until arriving back to camp. They also used the devices to share their daily findings and communicate via satellite with museums, schools and the media, including the Natural History Museum and the Guardian newspaper website.

“The water resistance and all around toughness and resilience against knocks and bumps have given us the confidence to speed up our research by taking them into the field,” said Martin. “The touchscreens make them very practical in the field and the antiglare screen makes working even in the direct sunlight of the tropics a breeze – something that amazes me every time.”

As the expedition began in November 2010, the group recently returned to the UK and is beginning to analyze and formulate the data captured with the Toughbook 30 computers. They have already started planning for another trip in September 2011.

To learn more about the Toughbook 31, the successor of the Toughbook 30, click here. Pictures provided are credited to Martin Holland, Founder and Executive Director of the Heart of Borneo Project.