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Title: An open-source platform for sub-$$\textrm{g}$$, sub-$$\upmu$$A data loggers
Abstract Background

Rapid improvements in inexpensive, low-power, movement and environmental sensors have sparked a revolution in animal behavior research by enabling the creation of data loggers (henceforth, tags) that can capture fine-grained behavioral data over many months. Nevertheless, development of tags that are suitable for use with small species, for example, birds under 25 g, remains challenging because of the extreme mass (under 1$$\textrm{g}$$g) and power (average current under 1$$\upmu$$μA) constraints. These constraints dictate that a tag should carry exactly the sensors required for a given experiment and the data collection protocol should be specialized to the experiment. Furthermore, it can be extremely challenging to design hardware and software to achieve the energy efficiency required for long tag life.


We present an activity monitor, BitTag, that can continuously collect activity data for 4–12 months at 0.5–0.8$$\textrm{g}$$g, depending upon battery choice, and which has been used to collect more than 500,000 h of data in a variety of experiments. The BitTag architecture provides a general platform to support the development and deployment of custom sub-$$\textrm{g}$$gtags. This platform consists of a flexible tag architecture, software for both tags and host computers, and hardware to provide the host/tag interface necessary for preparing tags for “flight” and for accessing tag data “post-flight”. We demonstrate how the BitTag platform can be extended to quickly develop novel tags with other sensors while satisfying the 1g/1$$\upmu$$μA mass and power requirements through the design of a novel barometric pressure sensing tag that can collect pressure and temperature data every 60$$\textrm{s}$$sfor a year with mass under 0.6$$\textrm{g}$$g.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Animal Biotelemetry
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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