Lightweight sensor device uses Nordic-enabled cellular IoT to help scientists track wildlife

Product image of Druid Technology’s DEBUT ULTRA 5G

Druid Technology’s DEBUT ULTRA 5G uses nRF9160 SiP to send location, environment, and behavior data to the Cloud via LTE-M/NB-IoT

Druid Technology, a China-based company using wireless sensor-based technology to help scientists better understand the principles of nature and the impact of human activities on the ecosystem, has released a cellular IoT and Bluetooth® LE wildlife tracking solution. The ‘DEBUT ULTRA 5G’ platform is designed to support the work of scientific research institutions, government departments, national parks and reserves, as well as non-profit organizations. 

Wildlife wearable

DEBUT (Devices of Biological Ubiquitous Telecommunication) ULTRA 5G is a smart terminal and biological wearable device used in the field of wildlife scientific research. In operation, the lightweight (1.9 g) and compact (19 by 14.5 by 6.8 mm) device uses its built-in light, temperature, and air pressure sensors to assess the microenvironment around the creature, especially during flight. It can also monitor and record latitude and longitude, altitude, speed and acceleration data, and be extended to any data collection application with strict equipment weight limitations.

Nordic also provides clear product evolution ideas and a high degree of technical collaboration
Guozheng Li, Druid Technology

The Nordic nRF9160 low power SiP with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS performs as the main processor for the integrated sensors. The nRF9160 is a highly integrated device comprising a 64 MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 processor, generous Flash and RAM, modem, PMIC, GNSS, and RF front end in a miniaturized package, making it ideal for even the most space-constrained applications. The Arm processor provides enough computational power to enable the device to perform edge computing for on-device behavior analysis. The SiP also provides the GNSS positioning and cellular IoT connectivity that allows the location, environmental, and behavioral data to be relayed to the Cloud. 

Behavior analysis

In addition, a Nordic nRF52840 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to an associated smartphone app from where users can control and configure the DEBUT ULTRA 5G device, as well as visualize the location, trajectory, surrounding environment, and behavior analysis of tracked animals. The solution is powered by lightweight, rechargeable photovoltaic cells and an energy management system that enables it to achieve unlimited operation during its life cycle.

“We selected Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP for its compact size and dual-mode LTE-M/NB-IoT communication, powerful processor, low power consumption, large memory capacity, and OTA-DFU [over-the-air device firmware update] functionality,” says Guozheng Li, Founder and CEO, Druid Technology. 

“Nordic also provides clear product evolution ideas and a high degree of technical collaboration that supports our product development plan.”