Past months have been very active on development end of the OpenCollar Edge tracker series, where a new member of the family: OpenCollar ElephantEdge tracker was developed in partnership of IRNAS, Smart Parks, and Hackster.io. The expansion of the OpenCollar Edge solutions with a range of products, alongside with ElephanEdge, enabled the development of an universal firmware and smartphone application, implementing a number of advanced features.
Two key concepts remain at the forefront of the design, rock-solid field performance and an intuitive user experience. Beforehand, we already focused on implementation details of tracker technology and made a dedicated webinar discussion on technical choices made during the design process and experiences shared by Smart Parks.
In this post, we are diving deeper into the ElephantEdge tracker features and associated technical implementations, available across all OpenCollar Edge devices.
High precision GPS tracking with very low power consumption is enabled by the combination of uBlox M8B receiver, used for precise and low power positioning, and Semtech LR1110 LoRa transceiver with built-in quick GPS fix technology. The tandem of the two solutions provides a unique combination of positioning service not available on any other device. Furthermore, the recent introduction of uBlox CloudLocate technology introduces the option of an even lower power positioning service.
LoRaWAN connectivity is supported with a built-in stack using Semtech Modem-E firmware with multi-region support for LR1110. Such setup enables LoRaWAN connectivity in several global regions, where nature conservation applications are most needed. The advanced features of Modem-E firmware like time-sync and file transfers, available to use with Semtech LoRa Cloud, further expand the functionality of products.
Bluetooth connectivity enables instant status update and implementation of management protocols, when in close proximity of the tracker. Seamless deployment experience is achieved with the Smart Parks Connect app, which allows users to adjust settings and validate the correct operation of the device.
Bluetooth contact tracking
Tracking the proximity and contacts between animals and equipment is enabled across all OpenCollar Edge devices. They can either be located on the collar of various animals, while other statically deployed units serve as markers to detect when animals are in proximity of specific objects and location, for example watering holes or even vehicles equipped with these products.
In addition to the Bluetooth contact tracking feature, WiFi scanning functionality of the LR1110 allows for proximity detection of Smartphones and other devices with WiFi module. Hence human proximity to the animal can be detected and notification being send wirelessly.
Unified communication protocol
Unified communication protocol has been designed and implemented on devices to meet LoRaWAN protocol requirements while offering the full remote control of ElephantEdge and other trackers via Bluetooth, LoRaWAN, and any other communication channel that may be supported in the future. Full tracker data storage on the device enables data analysis for periods when trackers have been outside network coverage or data has been lost for any other reason. Upon restoring the connectivity all data can be requested to be resent via Bluetooth or LoRaWAN.
Real-time sensor data collection
Real-time sensor data collection integrates accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, and microphone data and makes it available either for statistical analysis or as an input for Edge Impulse machine learning models, that can transform large amount of data into compact answers to be sent wirelessly.
Over-the-air firmware upgrade
Over-the-air firmware upgrade allows for fast and user-friendly device update, utilizing Smart Parks Connect app functionality, when in the proximity of the device.
Multiple devices monitoring
Smart Parks Connect app features overview functionality, where all devices in the proximity can be monitored at the same time. Basic operation parameters as well as any operational errors can be seen without initiating Bluetooth connection to the device.
What is next
The final steps of the manufacturing process are bringing this project to an end, while units are being prepared for field deployments. While getting all components in place for the past few months has been a struggle, everything is running smoothly now with deployment, managed by Smart Parks, of the first 10 devices to elephants, coming up soon.