Flexible tag design for semi-continuous wireless data acquisition from marine animals

by Muhammad Akram Karimi, Qingle Zhang, Yen Hung Kuo, Sohail Faizan Shaikh, Altynay Kaidarova, Nathan Geraldi, Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, Jurgen Kosel, Carlos M. Duarte, Atif Shamim
Research article Year: 2019 ISSN: 2058-8585 DOI: 10.1088/2058-8585/ab423f


Karimi, M. A., Zhang, Q., Kuo, Y. H., Shaikh, S. F., Kaidarova, A., Geraldi, N., Duarte, C.M.,... & Shamim, A. (2019). Flexible tag design for semi-continuous wireless data acquisition from marine animals. Flexible and Printed Electronics4(3), 035006.


Acquisition of sensor data from tagged marine animals has always been a challenge. Presently, there are two extreme mechanisms to acquire marine data. For continuous data acquisition, hundreds of kilometers of optical fiber links are used which in addition to being expensive are impractical in certain circumstances. On the other extreme, data is retrieved in an offline and invasive manner after removing the sensor tag from the skin of the animal. This paper presents a semi-continuous method of acquiring marine data without requiring tags to be removed from the sea animal. Marine data is temporarily stored in the on board memory of the tag and is then automatically synced to floating receivers as soon as the animal rises to the water surface. To ensure effective wireless communication in an unpredictable environment, a quasi-isotropic antenna has been designed that works equally well irrespective of the orientation of the tagged animal. In contrast to existing rigid wireless devices, the tag presented in this work is flexible and thus convenient for mounting on marine animals. The tag has been initially tested in air as a standalone unit with a communication range of 120 m. During tests in water, with the tag mounted on the skin of a crab, a range of 12 m has been observed. In a system-level test, the muscle activity of a small giant clam (Tridacna maxima) has been recorded in real time via the non-invasive wireless tag.