Sensors and Animals

I still remember my early days in the Navy, when accelerometers were relatively large and most definitely expensive. They also weren’t all that reliable at times. (An accelerometer measures the amount of acceleration in a specific direction.) However, they were necessary equipment components because they helped ensure that any measurements compensated for the ship’s yaw, pitch, and roll. In fact, accelerometers continue to have a high visibility role in performing this task as part of Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) used in all sorts of equipment. Fortunately, modern accelerometers are extremely reliable, quite small, and cheap.

You probably have several accelerometers on your person. For example, they’re used to change the orientation of the picture produced by your smartphone. In fact, accelerometers are one of the most common sensors in use today because they provide much needed information about the manner in which the environment is changing for a particular technology. There are all sorts of ways in which you could use accelerometers to determine how an object is interacting with the real world.

Using accelerometers with animals has gone on for a long time now. In fact, they’re used so often that there is an actual name for the practice, animal biotelemetry. Most uses for animal biotelemetry affect wild animals in some way, but you can find uses for domesticated animals as well. I recently read about a new use for accelerometers in working with animals, Moove it! Tracking the common cow. The title would have you believe the accelerometers are used to monitor cow movement, which is partly true, but the purpose is to determine when the best time is to breed the cow so that she produces offspring at the most efficient time for everyone (including herself).

The article points out that sensors are often used in ways that weren’t envisioned by their creator. In this case, the accelerometer is actually used for monitoring, rather than measuring direction. I look for continued new uses for sensors to come to light. These uses will help us overcome many of the issues that people face today in interacting with their environment. Let me know your thoughts about how accelerometers and other sensors might be used to track, monitor, and otherwise help both people and animals to lead better lives at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.

 

Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 99 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a Web security book, discussions of how to manage big data using data science, a Windows command -line reference, and a book that shows how to build your own custom PC. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 67 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He has also contributed articles to magazines such as Software Quality Connection, DevSource, InformIT, SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, Hard Core Visual Basic, asp.netPRO, Software Test and Performance, and Visual Basic Developer. Be sure to read John’s blog at http://blog.johnmuellerbooks.com/. When John isn’t working at the computer, you can find him outside in the garden, cutting wood, or generally enjoying nature. John also likes making wine and knitting. When not occupied with anything else, he makes glycerin soap and candles, which comes in handy for gift baskets. You can reach John on the Internet at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. John is also setting up a website at http://www.johnmuellerbooks.com/. Feel free to take a look and make suggestions on how he can improve it.