Improvement and Analysis of Networked Animal-Borne Sensors

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Over the past few decades, advances in semiconductor technology have enabled the evolution of smaller and lighter embedded systems. Many researchers have utilized this technology to achieve new perspectives on animal behavior by developing animal-borne sensors and recording devices. Such devices have facilitated significant improvement in ecological research capabilities. However, there are many ways in which animal-borne sensor technology has yet to be harnessed.

The Networked Crittercam systems developed by the University of Maryland Institute for Systems Research in conjunction with the National Geographic Society offer a more sophisticated tool than previous animal-borne sensors. By engaging in real time analysis of sensor and telemetry data to determine when to trigger video recording, system designers can conserve precious battery life while maintaining the collection of pertinent data.

In order to best utilize the Networked Crittercam systems, it is necessary to understand the physical capabilities of the hardware and to develop software tools which augment the system. To achieve this goal, a total of 29 Crittercams were deployed onto two different species in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Additionally, the systems underwent controlled tests to quantify performance metrics such as battery life and network connectivity. Lastly, a suite of software tools was developed in order to facilitate efficient and repeatable deployment efforts in the future.