Animals and IoT: Eartag tracks Health and Location of Reindeer

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Animals and IoT: Eartag tracks Health and Location of Reindeer

The “Healtag” tracker from Finnish startup, Anicare can measure different vital functions of animals with IoT for up to five years autonomously. Data is sent to the Cloud for access via a smartphone app, so that injured or ill animals in the wild can be automatically identified for rescue. Nordic Semiconductor supplies nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) LTE-M/NB-IoT cellular IoT modules for this herding livestock management solution.

The Healtag is designed to insure farmers of commercially-bred reindeer and other herding animals against the financial loss and livestock welfare issues associated with undetected illness or injury of herding animals that spend most of the year roaming in the wild.
Around 600,000 reindeer are reared in Lapland and Scandinavia each year where reindeer meat – which is worth around € 1,000-1,500 per animal – is very popular. In Finland, if a farmer can prove one of its reindeer was killed by a wild predator, the government will compensate that farmer financially for the loss.

Animals and IoT - Eartag Anicare
Healtag is also an improvement over existing trackers that have to be hung from the animal’s neck due to size and weight, and consume so much power that their batteries need to be replaced every year. This is not only expensive and time consuming for the farmer, but also highly stressful to the animal.
The 25g, 35 x 22 x 23-mm Anicare Healtag is small and light enough to be attached to an animal’s earflap like a traditional livestock ear tag. Due to the maintenance-free battery lifetime of up to five years the tag only needs to be attached once during an animals lifetime.
An accelerometer and a thermal sensor measure an animals activities and heat once every hour, and uses NB-IoT to report any significant changes that may indicate illness, injury, or a predator attack. Th GPS functionality included in the nRF9160 SiP’s sends the exact location of a distressed animal to its owner immediately, enabling rapid rescue and treatment. The latest NB-IoT cellular wireless technology deployed throughout Northern Europe ensures cellular data communication even in areas with no 2G cellphone coverage.

The all-in-one module integration of the nRF9160 SiP meant we didn’t have to worry about having separate application processor, antenna, GPS, and NB-IoT circuits that would have required a lot of supporting components and thus PCB space,

comments Aki Marttila, CEO of Anicare.

And because the nRF9160 comes module-certified for cellular networks globally we didn’t have to worry about gaining any regulatory approvals either.

The Anicare Healtag will be commercially available from September this year.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Anicare

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