Sunday, November 18, 2012


I have gotten myself an Arduino Uno - open source electronics prototyping platform - in order to build some inexpensive camera traps and possibly write a small article about it to a photo magazine. The Trailmaster Infrared Trail Monitor model TM550 that I have used before is quite nice and customizable but it is not cheap @ 180 US$. A DIY solution building on Arduino will be much cheaper and perhaps even more customizable as one can program it. For instance the TM550 has a minimum wait time of 6 seconds after a triggering event. That can sometimes be limiting. With more cameras employed simultaneously, chances of success will be the increased immensely.

Also, I have ideas about making some PIR alarms for fox den surveillance as part of my fieldwork at Zackenberg in Northeast Greenland. We are supposed to spent a full day by all fox dens suspected of having pups, but it can be extremely tiring as long periods can pass without any activity or pups showing up. We do have camera traps at the dens but they don't catch everything and if things are happening behind the camera and their PIR sensors we will not know. With an Arduino based PIR alarm perhaps with multiple PIR sensors in opposite directions and with a radio link to an audio alarm close by the hideout some distance away, it will not be a disaster if one falls asleep or reads a book while on watch.