STMicroelectronics and University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science Cooperate to Soar with BirdsMicro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology tracks bird migration and behavior
In addition to the bird’s location, determined via the Global Positioning System, the tracker collects acceleration and direction data from STMicroelectronics’ LSM303DLM digital compass that integrates low-power, high-performance motion and magnetic sensing in a miniature form factor. The MEMS chip monitors the direction and vertical/horizontal orientation of the animal and can determine the body angle of birds flying in a crosswind.The tracker also contains sensors that measure both the air temperature and the internal temperature of the device. A lithium battery, charged by a high-efficient triple-junction solar cell, provides power to the system, and a ZigBee transceiver manages wireless data communication to and from the device.
Data from the trackers is currently being shared among bird-research institutes and biologists to verify computer models that predict bird behavior and migration patterns (www.UvA-BiTS.nl).
“MEMS technologies are finding their way into a broad range of applications and only ST has the breadth of technologies available to serve as a one-stop supplier,” said Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President and General Manager of ST’s Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group. “The light weight, low power, and high accuracy of the MEMS make it ideal for innovative projects like UvA’s bird tracking system to study avian migration and behavior.”
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About University of Amsterdam
The bird tracking system is developed in a close collaboration of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) and the Technology Centre (TC) both of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. TC supports scientific groups of the faculty in the areas of mechanical construction, electronics and software, thus stimulating innovative research. The Faculty of Science is a leading centre of academic research and education with a broad range of strong research groups.
MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology exploits the mechanical as well as the electrical properties of silicon. In conventional silicon chips, electrons move within the static silicon. However, silicon also has several important mechanical properties e.g. it is stronger than steel yet has high elasticity. The techniques that are used to build silicon transistors can also be adapted to build microscopic silicon structures such as cantilevers, springs and even gears that are capable of physical movement, allowing the manufacture of highly miniaturized sensors and activators.