Lian Pin Koh is a relentless tinkerer and science fiction movie geek, though most know him as an environmental scientist. His dreams of combining these interests led him to cofound, with colleague Serge Wich, the site ConservationDrones.org, a project dedicated to gathering intelligence on forests and wildlife through the use of low-cost unmanned flying machines.
Ground surveys are expensive, and are not conducted at a sufficient frequency. Furthermore, some remote tropical forests have never been really surveyed for biodiversity. Koh's machines have already collected valuable information in Sumatra, Congo, Gabon, and Madagascar.
He is an assistant professor of applied ecology and conservation at the ETH Zurich.