Shah Selbe

Technical Consultant, Rainforest XPRIZE

Shah Selbe joins XPRIZE as a Technical Consultant for the Rainforest XPRIZE. He also previously served as a judge for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

Shah Selbe is the founder of Conservify and a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow. He is an engineer and conservation technologist that works with communities, NGOs, and developing countries to identify and deploy technologies that can help with their greatest conservation challenges. His projects have integrated crowdsourcing, smartphone apps, drones, satellite data, and sensors to address such conservation issues as illegal poaching and the monitoring of protected areas. This includes low-cost observation platforms (conservation drones, acoustic sensors, open source sensors, satellite imagery, etc.) and better methods to share and manage the data gathered (using mobile technologies, crowdsourcing, data visualization, etc.). He founded the first solely conservation technology makerspace and nonprofit prototyping lab called Conservify, which uses open source technology to empower local communities to bring innovative tools into how we change our planet’s’ future. Over the last few years, Conservify has built open source hardware for use in the field on National Geographic expeditions and through its network of scientists and conservationists. Conservify’s work has also included water quality characterization in Peru's Boiling River, biodiversity protection in Botswana's Okavango Delta, tracking glacial melt in Canada's Banff National Park, understanding the behaviors of Congo's lowland gorillas, helping citizen scientists monitor water in the Amazon Rainforest, drone-based monitoring of Sri Lanka’s blue whales, and many more diverse activities across the globe. This work has been honored as a 2010 Boeing Exceptional Service Award, 2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalist, a 2011 Ocean Exchange Gulfstream Navigator Finalist, 2011 Katerva Award Nominee, 2013 National Geographic Society Explorer Award, 2014 UCR Outstanding Alumnus Service Award, 2015 PopTech Social Innovation Award, 2016 Rolex Award Finalist, and a National Geographic Society Fellowship (2016-2019) and many grants.

Shah is also a Nelson Institute Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Madison, a New England Aquarium Ocean Conservation Fellow, and a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. Before becoming a conservation technologist, Shah spent 10 years as a rocket scientist building and launching satellites with Boeing.