Researchers to tie Animals, Facebook using 'Smart Collars'

Dennis Faas's picture

Wildlife researchers have created the first ever "smart" collar for animals in the wild that is able to track and record their daily patterns in ways never before thought imaginable.

Thanks to a series of tests featuring a ten-year-old captive female mountain lion, researchers were able to develop a "library of signatures" to identify nearly every kind of animal movement. The collar itself utilizes a combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers to measure the metabolic inner life of the animal when leaping, running or sleeping.

The end result, as University of California biology professor Terrie Williams articulated, is "a 24-hour diary that says (the animal) spent this much time sleeping, and we know from the GPS where that was. Then (the animal) woke up and went for a walk over here, caught something over here, ate something over here, and now we know what that was because the signatures we get for a deer kill vs a rabbit kill are very different." (Source:

Researchers Hope for Social Network Integration

Current plans call for the integration of social networking to relay information collected from the collars as it comes in. Some researchers have even expressed interest in dedicating a Facebook account for each animal that wears a "smart" collar.

Still, the goal of the project is not just to gain knowledge about the animals that might be captured and fitted with the device. Rather, researchers hope to soon develop an entire platform for predicting wild behavior, which is admittedly the realization of a human dream since the first hunter-ancestors ventured onto the scene millions of years ago.

Healthy Financial Backing Could Speed Up Production

So far, the development team have been the recipients of some pretty strong financial backing, collecting about $800,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation. (Source:

This means that if all goes according to plan, the collars are expected to be released for commercial production within the next few years.

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