STMicroelectronics and University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science Cooperate on Bird Tracking Device

STMicroelectronics of Geneva and the University of Amsterdam
(UvA) Faculty of Science have announced that a sophisticated
bird-tracking system developed by the university is using advanced
MEMS sensing technology from ST. The device weighs as little as a 20
euro cent coin or a US quarter and is smaller than a car key so as
not to impede the birds’ flight. The tracking systems are
sophisticated data loggers that can be attached to the back of the
birds and can measuring GPS position every 3 seconds. 

In
addition to GPS location, the tracker collects acceleration and
direction data from STMicroelectronics’ LSM303DLM digital compass
that integrates low-power, high-performance motion and magnetic
sensing in a miniature form factor. The MEMS chip monitors the
direction and vertical/horizontal orientation of the animal and can
determine the body angle of birds flying in a crosswind. 



Sensors measure both the air temperature and the internal
temperature of the device. A triple-junction solar cell charges a
lithium battery which powers the system, and a ZigBee transceiver
manages wireless data communication to and from the
device. 

Data from the trackers is currently being shared
among bird-research institutes and biologists to verify computer
models of bird behavior and migration patterns

 Benedetto Vigna, executive vice president and general manager
of ST’s analog, MEMS and sensors group, “The light weight, low
power, and high accuracy of the MEMS make it ideal for innovative
projects like UvA’s bird tracking system to study avian migration
and behavior.”