The use of portable, wireless cameras and monitoring equipment for recording and transmitting footage of wildlife is perhaps familiar to anyone who watches nature programs on TV. However, common to all such equipment is the problem of limited battery life, which becomes particularly troublesome when using such equipment in remote and hazardous locations. A new report in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering, reveals details of an energy-efficient system for monitoring wild birds that reduces power consumption without significantly compromising image quality.
Hsiao-Wei Yuan of the National Taiwan University in Taipei and colleagues were aware that scientific monitoring of the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) a migratory bird that nests on Taiwan's Matsu Islands is important for conservation. As with many such ecosystems, observations are often unsystematic and rely on manual observation rather than continuous feedback.
The team has now developed a wireless, real-time visual surveillance system for monitoring these birds, TernCam. The system will allow scientists to gain a better picture of the tern's behavior through instantaneous capture of information. Crucially, the team has developed appropriate software for data transmission that retains image integrity but reduces the total number of data packets transmitted by the system and so considerably reduces battery consumption.
"The traditional techniques used to monitor wildlife are labor intensive and costly," Yuan says. "The use of cameras allows large data collection and increases the size of a sampled area without human presence, often giving scientists a glimpse into the secret lives of wildlife and its breeding, feeding and migratory habits." Additionally, monitoring cameras can also be used in anti-poaching efforts.
The team says their system overcomes many of the problems associated with wirele
|Contact: Albert Ang|