Tom Igoe’s monkey tracking adventures



Tom Igoe, author of Making Things Talk, is in the rainforest in eastern Ecuador, applying his sensor and embedded hacking skills to tracking monkeys (from Part 4 of his adventure postings):

This morning, Kevin and Tony and I went to look for titi monkeys. We didn’t find any, but we did manage to get lost, or as Tony prefers to put it, “got to know the forest a little better.” It was a good hike, but frustrating for them because no monkeys were found. I did another test with the GPS micro-mini, and got the same results. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a bigger antenna to make it work.

This afternoon, we ran some tests of signal strength of 2.4GHz using XBee radios. Transmitter was sending 1 sample of AD0 and AD1 at 80 ms intervals for all tests. I don’t necessarily want to use XBees, but they were the only high frequency radios I had in hand to test with. The current telemetry gear works in the 148 – 152MHz range, which supposedly gives better penetration through the foliage.

We can probably go up to 100 grams on a large monkey. Here are the weights of the things we’ve currently got. Small monkey radios: currently 54g (big one), 22g (small one), large monkeys currently 45g. Logomatic v2 plus battery: 51g. Xbee Pro plus LilyPad power supply plus small LiPoly battery: 27g.

Tom’s posted four parts to his monkey tracking adventures; keep an eye on his blog for more posts.

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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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