Putting tags on animals to help track and observe them is nothing new, particularly if the species is endangered or threatened. Scientists have even used GPS trackers to chart migratory patterns of everything from eagles to giant tortoises.
Recently, though, a team from South Africa, Botswana, and UCLA implanted an Actiwatch Spectrum into the trunks of two wild African elephants for about a month. The watches use a piezoaccelerometer to track motion. In this case, the motion of the elephant’s trunk, and from that, make estimates about the elephant’s sleep cycles. This data was complemented with an accelerometer and GPS on a collar, as well as a stationary weather station. Their specific goal is to study the sleeping patterns of the animals, and to try and understand better how sleep in general works.
Their findings were perhaps surprising; they found that the elephants slept for an average of two hours a day, most of that standing up, and it appears that they very rarely entered REM sleep as we understand it. You can read the team’s full paper here.
Increasingly, smart wearable technology is being used to study animals, not only in the wild but also in captivity. Recently, zookeepers at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California have been using similar equipment to monitor their captive elephants and watch for particular habits and behaviors that could point to everything from joint and foot problems to anxiety or loneliness. Armed with this data, zookeepers can better understand what the animals need to be as healthy and happy as possible in captivity.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Apple’s Mac Pro doesn’t fall far from the tree
Wearables — An unexpected diffusion
Electronics — Proceed with caution
Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery
Python for Microcontrollers — CircuitPython powers the Open Hardware Summit for 2020! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Learning from IoT Projects, Adafruit Joins the LoRa Alliance, Ring Ransoms, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode: Opening a World of Possibilities
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.