The Internet of Things (IoT) is a well-established market, but a subsection of this space is the Internet of Animals (IoA). Using IoA, scientists equip animals with internet tracking devices for research purposes.
Blackbird tracking tag.Image courtesy of Max Planck Society and Nature
One of the companies at the forefront of this trend is IMEC, a Belgian research institute specializing in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. In collaboration with the University of Antwerp, IMEC has announced its new IoA spin-off. Internet of Small Animals (IoSA) Designed to preserve, protect and monitor animal condition.
This article describes the history of IoA and how IMEC and the University of Antwerp have applied the technology to observe birds, rodents, bats and toads.
What is the Internet of Animals (IoA)?
IoA Devices often called “smart tags” allow researchers to track the movement, behavior and overall health of animals in both wild and domestic settings.
Data collected via these devices are transmitted over the internet to researchers, providing valuable insight into the lives of these animals.
Some of the technologies embedded in IoA. Image credit: British Ecological Society (Click the image to enlarge.)
One of the key technologies enabling the Internet of Animals is small, lightweight, and durable tracking devices. These devices typically contain GPS units, accelerometers, radio transceivers, and can transmit data to base stations and satellites. Additionally, most IoA trackers include portable batteries for energy storage and solar panels or other energy harvesters to support continuous operation. The primary design considerations for these devices are unit size and weight. This is important for animals to wear without hindrance or discomfort.
Another key technology is low power wireless communication protocols such as Zigbee, LoRa and Sigfox. This allows devices to transmit data over long distances with minimal power consumption. These protocols are important for tracking animals in remote areas where conventional cellular networks are not available.
animal internet history
The internet of animals may sound like a relatively new concept, but the idea of tracking animals with internet-connected devices is decades ago.
One of the first systems of its kind was argos systemstarted as a joint French-American project in the 1980s. Originally, Argos was used to track marine mammals such as sea turtles and process reports from remote automated weather stations. Today Argos is used to track other wildlife such as birds.
Scientists line up ICARUS animal tracking tags to recharge their batteries in the sun.Image courtesy of Christian Ziegler and Nature
The animal internet has grown significantly in recent years, especially in the areas of conservation and research. Space-based technology is he one of the most exciting developments in the field.of ICARUS InitiativeFor example, a small solar-powered transmitter is used to track the migration of birds by transmitting signals to the International Space Station (ISS). Because the ISS is much closer to Earth than the Argos satellite, the beacons are much smaller and lighter and can be attached to small animals such as bees and other insects.
IMEC Announces New Spinoff: Internet of Small Animals
IMEC recently announced a new spin-off in collaboration with the University of Antwerp. small animal internet (IOSA). The organization focuses on IoT developments that help protect, protect, and monitor small wildlife such as birds, bats, toads, and rodents.
One of the spin-off’s key value propositions is new technology jointly developed by researchers from IMEC and Antwerp. This is a new lightweight proximity sensor that tracks small animals and insects. Additionally, IoSA has developed a logging tool to complement the new sensor. This enables a centralized and accessible dashboard for high-precision, low-power tracking of animals in IoSA’s network.
The new proximity sensor weighs just 0.9 grams and the company hopes to unlock more features and versatility in terms of which animals can be tracked via IoSA. Ultimately, IoSA’s goal is to provide researchers, wildlife and conservation groups, zoos and farmers with new insights into how animals interact and migrate.