Today, the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp), a dynamic, forward-thinking university aiming to contribute positively to society, and imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies announce their new spin-off called IoSA (Internet of Small Animals). Engineers of IDlab, an imec research group at UAntwerp, and ecologists of EVECO research group at UAntwerp, combined their expertise to develop an ultralight ultra-low power, highly accurate proximity tracker that enables monitoring the behavior and movement of small wild animals such as birds, rodents, bats and even toads.
To conserve, protect and improve the conditions for animals, we need to understand their movements and behavior, not only from a biodiversity angle, but also for domestic animals, such as livestock animal. Behavior provides valuable information about the animals’ health. However, the tools to effectively monitor animal behavior have been lacking, particularly for smaller wild animals. To meet this need, IoSa (the Internet of Small Animals) aims at developing an ultralight highly accurate monitoring tool that can be used to gather new insights in wild animal behavior and health, but also in early warning systems for livestock health.
New valuable insights
IoSA combines the expertise of engineers of imec-IDlab and ecologists of UAntwerp to create logging tools, focusing on highly accurate proximity tracking and ultra-low power data processing. While traditional trackers are rather bulky and heavy, IoSA was able to pack these features in ultra-light miniaturized solutions, weighing no more than 5 percent of the animal’s body weight. IoSA’s solutions will provide new valuable insights to researchers, wildlife and conservation organizations, zoos, and farmers on how animals interact and move.
“IoSA is an excellent example of creating value in a surprising area. This multidisciplinary cooperation between different research groups results in an interesting IoT-tool that supports the biological and biomedical research domain. UAntwerp puts a lot of effort in connecting researchers in order to create more socio-economic value for a broader public.”, says Silvia Lenaerts, Vice-rector Valorization and Development of UAntwerp.
Just the beginning
Lucinda Kirkpatrick, CEO of IoSA: “We started with a miniaturized proximity logger, of merely 0,9 grams, as a contact tracer for smaller animals like birds and mice. Each logger emits Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals and registers the BLE signals and the signal strength of other loggers in the vicinity, as well as the signals of a stationary beacon in the monitoring environment. This approach allows researchers to map movements of, and interactions between the animals, and provides valuable data that was unattainable until now. This first logger is only the beginning as a team we are hugely passionate about creating even better devices that provide more insights into animal behavior that can help us study, protect and conserve animals.
Imec (imec-int.com) is a world-leading research and innovation center in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Imec leverages its state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure and its team of more than 5,500 employees and top researchers, for R&D in advanced semiconductor and system scaling, silicon photonics, artificial intelligence, beyond 5G communications and sensing technologies, and in application domains such as health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agrofood, smart cities, sustainable energy, education, … Imec unites world-industry leaders across the semiconductor value chain, Flanders-based and international tech, pharma, medical and ICT companies, start-ups, and academia and knowledge centers. Imec is headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), and has research sites across Belgium, in the Netherlands and the USA, and representation in 3 continents. In 2021, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 732 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of imec International (IMEC International, a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.), imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.), imec India (IMEC India Private Limited), imec San Francisco (IMEC Inc.) and imec Florida (IMEC USA Nanoelectronics Design Center Inc.).
About University of Antwerp Valorisation Office (TTO)
The University of Antwerp (uantwerpen.be) is a young, dynamic and forward-thinking university. It integrates the assets of its historic roots with its ambition to contribute positively to society. The University of Antwerp develops, provides access to and disseminates scientific knowledge through research, teaching and service to society. The Valorisation Office of the University of Antwerp plays a key part in this service to society, as it aims to connect the academic world to the business world and non-profit sector. The Valorisation Office not only helps researchers from the Antwerp University & Colleges (AUHA) with transferring their knowledge and technologies to the businesses, from SMEs to multinationals, and non-profit sector but also aims to solve issues in the industry by connecting companies with specialized researchers.