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  • Archive for March, 2010

    Week 6 – Midterm | Steam Powered Generator


    2010 - 03.23

    For my midterm project in Mechanisms I created a electric generator powered by steam.  For safety concerns with NYU I am using compressed air to power the electric generator.  Currently, this project isn’t finished.  Air leaks out of the top of the tapped pipe.  I tried to patch the leaks with plumbers putty, but air is still escaping.  Also, I need to add a safety valve before I begin to power it by steam.

    Week 5 – Final Project Proposal


    2010 - 03.04

    Our group is in charge of developing a tracking system that improves upon current solutions.  The current solution for tracking the monkeys include  darting the monkey, putting a radio transmitter collar on the monkey.   The observer then tunes in that frequency with a radio receiver and listen for a blip.  The hard part is actually telling where the monkey is.  The user has to have some skill telling the direction of the blip.  Tracking a the monkeys requires using a directional antenna with a radio receiver and listening for faint blips.  The user then follows the strongest signal of blips until they can visually see the tagged monkey.

    Our group Lisa Maria, Sonaar, Zeven and I want to create a solution that improves upon current technology.  For starters, the current receiver require opening the unit up to change the frequency that the receiver listens to.  This can be solved by purchasing any radio scanner (receiver).  These radio scanners can scan through 50 frequencies a second and can be programmed to remember frequency such as those of the radio collars.  These scanners are cheaper than the current receiver which cost around $800.  A commercial radio scanner can be purchased for a $100 and have a lot more functionality.

    We propose to improve current technology and instruments used to track wildlife.  We will look into alternative telemetry receivers, antennas  and tagging transmitters.  We will test and compare current instruments to different alternatives.

    Telemetry Receivers and Consumer Receivers


    2010 - 03.03

    Our group began looking into using consumer grade radio scanners (receivers). They are a lot cheaper then the current telemetry specific receivers. There are pro’s and con’s to each type of receiver. The consumer receivers are cheaper and can be purchased at any electronic store. They offer a lot of features, such as communication with a computer and GPS integration.

    The tradeoff of the consumer radio scanner is they do not have a high sensitivity for picking up faint radio signals. The specific animal tracking scanners (telemetry receiver) can receive the faintest of transmitter beeps. Having a sensitive radio allows the user to hear a signal from a weak transmitting transmitter. The sensitivity of a consumer radio scanner is around 0.4 microvolts. A telemetry receiver has a sensitivity around 0.007 microvolts.

    We tested the consumer radio scanner and a the telemetry receiver to see if there is a noticeably difference in sensitivity. We put both receivers next to each other and had a transmitter collar laying across both antennas. The collar had a very weak signal due to a low battery. The telemetry receiver was able to receive the pulse from the collar while the consumer receiver just heard static noise. The test didn’t have to go any further. It was clear that the consumer receivers would receive the transmitter collar’s signal when battery is fully charged, but overtime the consumer receiver could not detect the faint signal of the radio collar.

    Telemetry Radio Tests from Russell de la Torre on Vimeo.

    Research in Tracking Animals


    2010 - 03.03

    Animal Tracking Whitepaper – Princeton University

    Tiny transmitter tracking Bee’s

    Dragonfly