Jorge Chapa

SOLAR POWERED BIONIC TURTLES

by , 07/30/07
filed under: Solar Power

turtle, wifi, wi-fi, solar power, gps, nature conservation, extinction,

You wouldn’t expect turtles to have the need for solar power and internet access, but some of the critters are now getting all wired up for a research experiment, according to scientists from the University of Massachusetts. In an ecological experiment taking place along the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts, two teams of researchers including computer engineers and biologists have begun testing a new wireless communication network to track wildlife: cheekily named the Turtlenet.


The team of Mark D. Corner, Emery D. Berger, and Brian Levine with biologist Michael Jones had a simple idea, to create a network to track small endangered animals, in a manner similar to an experiment being done in Africa to track zebras. Rather than wading through the murky swamps looking for the previously marked turtles, hoping that the batteries on the radio receivers haven’t died, the scientists have attached a very small solar powered computer outfitted with a GPS beacon and a wi-fi connection to the snapping turtles. When a turtle gets within range to another turtle, the computers will swap information with one another, with the idea being that one of them will get close enough to a base station in order to download the information to the project’s servers.

While the snapping turtles are not on the list of endangered species yet, the scientists hope that by using this information they can develop strategies to keep them from ever becoming endangered. ‘We’re trying to get a better idea of their range, the routes they take and where they hibernate,’ said Michael Jones, who is working on a doctoral degree in biology. ‘If you have that information for a good number of turtles, you can predict what their patterns will be for the next 50 years or so.’

+ Turtlenet
+ Turtles to Test Wireless Network

Via Treehugger.

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12 Comments

  1. stonedbug November 15, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Ever since the first signs of life are traced on the planet there have been mass extensions, this is not a new phenomena. The disappearing of dinosaurs is the single biggest mass extinction on record. However extinction of species has always been in accordance to the evolutionary paths it follows. The difference this time is that Man is the cause of all the species indifference.

  2. filmmenow November 1, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Hasn’t anyone ever considered that placing transmitters on animals so that scientists can track and monitor them is actually putting these animals in MORE danger? Now, all a poacher has to do is get a receiver that can pick up the signal being transmitted by the animal and their poaching job is now 100x’s easier….. BRAVO scientists…… you guys are too narrow minded. I can get a wifi signal finder on ebay right now for a handful of dollars.- We the people need to put a stop to this ignorant arrogance.

  3. Tom February 17, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    All tracking isn’t at all cruel to animals. The animals heal in a day or two and get over it. The turtles aren’t going to give a damn about some computer stuff taped to their shell….they probably don’t even know its there.

  4. scott August 2, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    I like turtles. I for one welcome our solar powered turtle overlords.

  5. meadow-dew August 1, 2007 at 2:38 am

    even turtles use natural energy for communication.
    why we dont?

    http://www.geocities.com/smallsteps2002

  6. J July 31, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    “you make it all too easy to galvanise the opposition and the ignorant AGAINST YOUR cause.” Typo – my apologies

  7. J July 31, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    well, what would you prefer, they tape the computer on the shell that has little sensitivty, or pierce it into their skin like they do with most other animals that they track (think transmitters pierced into tigers ears, etc). For once, this cruelty to animals is being done for their future benefit ( hopefully with the data collected, these scientists can lobby to keep contractors off turtle territory). Think about getting a shot- hurts like hell, nobody likes doing it, but we do it anyway to benefit our qaulity of life in the future. same scenario here – minor set-back/annoyance to the turtles for an experiment to plot their patterns, to hopefully prevent their species from becoming endangered. If these scientists were truly causing harm to these turtles and physically abusing them, I could understand this kind of outrage. when animal activists start rallying against scientific research designed specifically to protect an animal, something has gone awry. several animal activists and PETA have turned into dogmatic extremists- they blindly hate and decry anything less than savory to their narrow outlook, and admonish the few allies they have in their fight to protect animals. you make it all too easy to galvanise the opposition and the ignorant to your cause. in summary: let’s try and keep our eyes on the big picture people. harmless tape attached to turtle for temporary experiment = safeguarding turtles habitat and future.

  8. Jerry July 31, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Tend to agree with Cassandra. It’s a sad world we’ve created indeed, to feel the need to do this to these wonderful wildlife beings. I rescued one out of a busy street recently, and was totally struck by the beauty of this animal. I just instinctively wanted to protect it. Maybe that’s what needs to be cultivated, better human behavior, to accomodate other life forms. Maybe we know ourselves well enough though, to know that some humans are going to be insensative to other life forms, and the ones of us who do care about diversity of species & life forms, MUST DO Whatever It Takes to preserve all these wonderous species to keep our planet healthy. Good luck!

  9. Sean July 31, 2007 at 11:24 am

    The turtles will be fine with stuff taped on them. It’s for science, not just to save turtles.

    That said,
    Fat greedy Americans want their cheap feed and cheap entertainment. What’s another animal species to the highschool-dropout with 4 kids who won’t accept that they can’t have the lifestyle sold to them on TV?

  10. Richie July 31, 2007 at 10:13 am

    How ‘scientists’ abuse animals is well documented. Considering that glass enclosed microchip technology technology exists… how come this miniaturized technology wasn’t used instead of this highly intrusive, large and bulky option ? It seem like scientists are allowed to do anything stupid & cruel to animals ? Why is that ?

  11. Cassandra July 30, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    So we are TAPING computers onto animals now, why not just insert it into their heads. Although for a good purpose this is somewhat sick. Maybe we should change our lifestyles so we don’t have to worry about endangered animals anymore.

  12. 太阳能乌龟 at 陨... July 30, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    [...] 来源及阅读更多 Turtlenet [...]

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