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Archive for July, 2010

Where is wildlife telemetry headed?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In 1979 I worked at a company that made VHF transmitters for wildlife. That was about 20 years removed from the start of all of this wildlife telemetry business and even then people talked about “remember when.”   Everything had gotten so much smaller by the late 70s, it was impressive. Fast forward to 2008.  Wow, we made a small GPS data logger, the electronics only weighed 15 grams.  By 2009 the weight was down to 2.5 grams.  That was mostly just us getting better at what we do rather than some leap in technology.  Now we’re halfway through 2010 and our lightest GPS data logger electronics (without battery) weighs only 1.3 grams.

But where is this taking us?  What else can we do?  There isn’t much more room for weight reduction.  I think that the direction we are headed in is more sensors that will work in conjunction with the GPS and more automated data collection systems even on the lightest devices.  Where do you want this technology to be in another year? Think about it and let me know.


Solar GPS pod with remote data download option

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

120 Grams

Get a load of our newest solar powered application.  The concept of our GPS pod design has been pretty well received and our solar GPS data loggers with remote download are working great too so we combined the ideas and came up with the solar pod!

Big deal right?  What is it anyway?  What does it do for you?  Well I’ll tell you what it does, if you study animals that live in sunshine and are big enough to handle a 400 gram collar go grab one of your VHF collars.  Doesn’t matter who made that collar, just go get it.  Now how much did you pay for that collar?  A lot less than a GPS collar I bet. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could take that collar in your hand and just bolt something onto the top of it and turn it into a remote download GPS collar that can acquire a GPS location every 5 minutes, transmit that data to you and weigh less than 120 grams?  The weight is important so it won’t flip your collar upside down.

This has none of the large lithium batteries that are normally found in a GPS unit.  Not green enough for you?  Ok, so how much do you add to your carbon footprint every time you go out looking for your study animals?  You drive there right?  Or do you fly? Forget it.  Just take our automatic remote download station and deploy it in an area where you know your study animals will pass by.  Input the collar addresses that you want the station to search for, hook up power and leave.   It will collect and store that data for you so you can just go out and dump it all onto a flash drive or whatever.  Then mosey back to your office and have at it.   Not good enough either?  Want to be greener than this?  Check back soon to find out where we’re taking this.