Highly Advanced Archival Fish Tag with RF Transmitting Capabilities

Desert Star Systems of California is a manufacturer of new, technologically advanced animal tags. They first developed a small geo-location tag (SeaTag-GEO), which has been given high praise for its advances in tagging technology. Following this Desert Star is introducing SeaTag-SOL which comes standard with a long list of sensors and capabilities.

Marina, CA, November 08, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Desert Star Systems is located in Monterey Bay, California and specializes in underwater instrumentation. They are currently developing a RF transmitting archival fish tag. SeaTag-SOL, named because it uses stored solar power instead of batteries, is a highly advanced archival tag. It comes standard with the capability of transmitting its data via RF through a ZigBee RF transmitter. While it is still an archival tag, on some species that come to land (sea turtles, for example) it can transmit its data to a receiver, automatically erase the tag, and start over fresh. Therefore, the tag does not need to be recovered and theoretically it can stay on the animal forever transmitting its data each time it comes near a receiver.

An archival tag, commonly referred to as a data logger, is an electronic device that stores sensor data to on-board memory. The tag is generally placed on an animal, such as a fish, to learn more about the species’ migration pattern. The caveat to archival tags is that the researcher must get the tag back to get any information. On some species of fish, the return rate of tags may be very low, which means that the returned tags need to have accurate, in-depth data.

SeaTag-SOL is equipped with a wide variety of sensors and capabilities. Desert Star’s line of animals tags use a 3-axis magnetometer to determine their latitude positioning. This allows for higher position accuracy because the tag is not relying on light levels, which can be inconsistent during equinoxes, cloudy or foggy days, and if the water clarity is bad. These are the first tags to use a magnetometer for latitude positioning. Another advantage is that some researchers hypothesize that various species of marine life use the Earth’s magnetic field to migrate (for example, hammerhead sharks and sea turtles). This allows the researcher to use the magnetic field strength data to determine if the species does (or does not) use the magnetic field during its migrations.

A 2-axis accelerometer also comes standard in the SeaTag-SOL. This sensor allows the researcher to acquire data relative to feeding habits. The tag can sense whether or not the animal is swimming at a consistent pace of it is lunging for its prey. Temperature, depth, light color sensor are all standard sensors on the SeaTag-SOL. The temperature sensor records water temperature. The depth sensor records the depth of the animal at a customer-defined sampling rate, and the light color sensor records the different values.

Desert Star plans to use a 16GB microSD card for memory storage. The typical standard for most archival tags is about 16MB maximum. Therefore, the SeaTag-SOL has approximately 16,000MB more storage then the industry standard. This will allow the research to store RAW sensor data, based on the customer-defined sampling rate. Generally the problem with storing RAW sensor data is that it can consume too much power. However, because SeaTag-SOL uses stored solar power it is not reliant on battery life. The aerogel capacitor has a very low discharge rate and it constantly being recharged through the solar cell.

Desert Star Systems publishes the algorithms they use on a dedicated SeaTag server. The software that they use is also open-sourced. This allows the researchers to see exactly how they acquire and process data. It also gives the researcher the opportunity to write their own software code and algorithms to the tag. Desert Star has also determined that the tags should be relatively inexpensive in hopes that more research questions can be answered. The cost for a SeaTag-SOL is $1,000USD on low quantities and as inexpensive as $600 on larger quantities.

If you would like more detailed information, feel free to contact Thomas Gray at Desert Star Systems at tgray@desertstar.com

Desert Star Systems LLC
Thomas Gray