Saturday, 7 January 2012

Insight from water snails

From the research of the insight sheet about one of my participants watching snails and seeing the movement of the snails and through that movement understood when the biosphere was failing and eventually died.

I came up without the idea of tracking the snails as the move around the biosphere. in order to see changes within the biosphere and act as a control and monitor all changes within the biosphere. As once the snail dies the system dies so you can see when your biospheres system is under threat when the snails start to slow down or die.

The computer will do most of the recording so that observations can be made later by the user.

From this I went on to make a rough drawn up prototype of the device.

Which would consist of the the biosphere which would monitor the movement of the snails as well as the temperature, ph and any other important monitoring factors. The biosphere would be also monitored by a web cam so that the overall view of the biosphere could be recorded along side the movement of the snails.

Then all data would be fed to a website where the biosphere could be monitored and seen by others all over the world.

The device would be open source so people could use it to study biospheres how they wanted and also add to the website and also build new modules and work out different ways of monitoring all life forms within the biosphere.

It will be called open source biosphere.

snails seemed the easiest to track as I could paint them or stick a tracker on their shell without too much trouble

and then looked at how I could track/ monitor snail activity electronically:

I thought about a motion detecting camera but thought at night that would be difficult to see

I then thought a thermal camera and looked at various ways this could be done:

Thermitrack allows real time thermal tracking which can be connected to a mac or arduino through usb.

Thermitrack - Thermal imaging tracking camera

Although I later found out that snails are cold blooded so are probably the same temp as water so back to the drawing board.

I started to look ar Rfid tags like that which are used for pets such as cats and dogs and then found out scientist from Princeton university were using tiny rfid tags to track dragon flies over long distances so surely I could do something similar on a smaller scale with snails.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tiny tags trace dragonfly paths

The data revealed that the dragonflies' migration patterns are strikingly similar to those of songbirds, suggesting there is a strong evolutionary link to their behaviours.
The detailed flight path information was made possible by tiny radio transmitters developed by the team.Each transmitter weighed about a third of a gram and had enough battery life to track an individual for 10 days; but tagging such small creatures is far from easy.Once caught, each transmitter was attached with a couple of drops of superglue and some eye-lash adhesive.
In the future, the team hopes to refine its techniques and make the tracking even more hi-tech."If you had a satellite like that you could [follow the migration of] all kinds of birds, dragonflies, and locusts; and, I think, it would shed tremendous light on the movements of these organisms."

I found this picture of a Paper wasp with RFID tag attached by the Zoological society of London.

For entomology this could prove a valuable research into insect dispersal studies, migration, colony relationships, and added authority to the science of forensic entomology.

The university of Bristol is using tiny Rfid tags to monitor ants movements, these rfid tags are so small that two thousand would fit on a postage stamp. Radio-Wearing Insects - Tiny RFID Transponders Track Ant Nesting Tactics for Science (VIDEO)

Next I thought about what if snails shed their shells? they might loose their tags over time. Although I found out that they dont shed their shells they just extend them when they grow. So that will work.
Growing shell


Next I decided to look into how small I can purchase Rfid tags and also how much they would cost:

Hitachi is producing tiny rfid tags

Hitachi Achieves 0.05-mm Square Super Micro RFID Tag, 'Further Size Reductions in Mind' -- Tech-On!

A variety of different liquid and edible rfid tags:

Rfid powder tags:

Small rfid tags I can buy:
12.25mm by 1.93mm can be measured from a distance of 10mm
and rfid reader

Other small rfid tags:

Question about RFID tracking ants:

Passive RFID tags only work when they come in contact with an RFID reader

Once Ive got the RFID tags how can I work out their location?
RFID Radar gives precise measurement. This was used by to locate trolleys precisley to 1 millimteter.

This system would be a bit like this megalab:

Reliable and cost sensible RFID monitoring for insects:

More info about the ants with RFID tags:

Until I can get hold of RFID tags I can test the motion through just using stickers then use a grid reference then put into computer. Can add more and more data later like temperature, Ph levels and oxygen levels.

One of the first electronic meters I can create is a Ph meter which is a good measurement of how healthy a biosphere is.

Ideally my project would sustain and support complex life systems so they can be in close proximity to the user.

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