For the BBC Horizon programme “The Secret Life of the Cat”, the Wildlife Tracking Collars developed by the Royal Veterinarian College were downsized to fit on domestic cats.
About 50 tracking collars were fitted to house cats in the UK, incorporating the GPS receiver, accelerometers, gyroscopes, CPU, and much of the associated software. The college had already developed software functionality for larger animals and was retained, in particular the ability to change the collar’s operation and power consumption based on the cat’s behaviour, to conserve battery life.
The BBC published maps showing the tracks of ten of the cats over 24 hours. Each of the maps is accompanied by a small film clip of the particular tracked cat in action and a summary about how far each cat roams from its home and the size of its roaming area.
Some of the domestic cat collars also carried a miniature high-definition video camera, which provided excellent video quality but only very limited recording time due to their limited battery life. The collars were programmed to only turn the camera on when the accelerometers indicated that the cat was active and the GPS receiver indicated that the cat was outdoors.
The National Geographic & University of Georgia teamed up on a Kitty Cam Project which reviewed 2,000 hours of video collected from 55 Cat Cams.
The Kitty Cams use LEDs to record activity at night, are mounted on a break-away collar, and outfitted with a radio-tracking device. Video is recorded on SD cards. They are currently working on a second generation of cameras and will begin a new project in early 2014.
Lightweight GPS pet tracking devices, that attach to most collars, are available from many suppliers for under $100.
The Tractive GPS Pet Tracking device helps you locate your pet – anytime, anywhere. The device works with the free Tractive Pet Manager App and the Tractive website if you don’t have a smartphone.
The National Animal Identification System covers most livestock species, including cattle, poultry, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, goats and swine, as well as bison, deer, elk, llamas, alpacas and some fish. Household pets are not included. The idea behind NAIS is to traceback within 48 hours of a diseased animal’s movements.
Microchip implants, placed under the skin of a dog, cat, horse, parrot or other animal, uses passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology.
The Kickstarter Memoto clip-on camera, clips onto your clothes and automatically begins taking pictures at 2 pictures per minute.
Once the battery dies out (after two days), you can then plug the camera into your PC via USB cable and it’ll automatically upload the pictures to the cloud. It’s available now for $279 on pre-order and gives you a searchable, shareable photographic memory. It starts shipping November 1.
Rovio is a Wi-Fi enabled mobile robot webcam that lets you view and interact through streaming video and audio, wherever you are!