RFID and GPS technology will help better research bats for the scientific community
The study of bats has always been a major scientific discovery. After studying bats, they emit ultrasonic waves. After scientific discussions, the reasons why bats can fly at night have been revealed. Scientists have been inspired by them and installed radar equipment on airplanes to solve the problem. The problem of safe flying at night. Recently, the Neuroecological Bat Laboratory of Tel Aviv University is using RFID and GPS technology to understand the behavior of bats, thereby helping human thinking research. This solution for tracking bats in and out of the cave is provided by the start-up company Readbee, which uses RFID card readers and multi-channel card readers. RFID and GPS technology will help to better research bats for the scientific community.
The animal’s weight changes, it can fly at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, and it can change directions in the blink of an eye. Professor Yossi Yovel said that bat tracking can provide valuable information for ecological research. The Neuroecology Bat Laboratory is studying echolocation technology in bats. Researchers speculate that this is important because the brains of bats are no different from mammals, including humans. Researchers not only study how bats navigate through space through echolocation, but also study their sensory perception, social behavior, and decision-making.
Researchers searched for a cave near the university where bat “volunteers” could fly in and out. The team wanted to know when the bats entered and exited and flew to their destinations, so a GPS module is attached to each animal’s neck. Each GPS module is equipped with a battery and a microphone to track the status of the bat while it is moving. However, these GPS modules cannot be used on the little bat, because the little bat intelligently carries 10% of its body weight. The GPS module weighs 4 to 6 grams, while the weight of the little bat can be as small as 1.5 grams.
In addition, GPS modules are expensive, with a unit price of US$500. In many cases, bats wearing GPS modules will not return to the cave, which may also cause losses. Therefore, only some bats wear GPS modules. The team hopes to track more bats and identify each bat as it enters and exits the cave.
In the past, in order to understand when bats entered and exited the cave, researchers used cameras to observe. In order to identify the identity of each bat, they painted information on the bat’s head, or attached a collar with a name. The next day, the team of researchers will look at these records and read the bat’s name through visual indicators. This process is very time-consuming and error-prone.
The team also installed RFID technology, and the tag was embedded under the bat’s skin, but the read rate was not high enough. Yovel said: “The system often fails to read tags, especially when the bats are flying fast.” Therefore, the company contacted Readbee.
Yoni Harris, founder of Readbee, said that the company was founded in 2016 and mainly provides customized UHF RFID solutions in Israel. Israel’s UHF technology launch frequency is 915 to 917 MHz. The company also cooperates with Senitron to provide solutions in areas such as inventory tracking. Beginning in January this year, the company began to cooperate with universities and developed a system within 6 months. The bat tag reading rate reached almost 100%.
The Harris meeting said that when we first came into contact with this project, we hardly knew about bats. We tested various RFID tags and shapes, and finally chose to develop our own RFID tags. The system can track bats that are eating insects and fruits.
The card reader is installed on the entrance of 3 feet x 3 feet. Before determining the most effective solution, Readbee installed up to 8 antennas and 1 or 2 readers. Finally, two card readers with built-in Impinj R2000 card reader modules are installed at the top and bottom of the entrance, and each reader is equipped with an antenna. Readbee has also developed cloud-based software that uses tag reading data to determine the direction, speed and residence time of the tag. The tag ID is also bound to information such as the bat’s identity and type, age and weight.
Now, researchers can simply open the software and view the data and speed of specific bats, instead of spending a lot of time viewing video tapes. The reader is dormant during the day and starts to read data after sunset.
The company once studied the use of subcutaneously implanted tags, but eventually found that UHF RFID technology did not work well in this situation. The company also tried to attach an RFID tag to the GPS module, but finally found that the metal on the GPS module would affect the validity of the tag.