Vol.3 No.3 2010

Research paper : Development of a sensor system for animal watching to keep human health and food safety (T. Itoh et al.)−231−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.3 No.3 (2010) In this research, by focusing the research on the rather special use in the chicken health monitoring system, we are trying to reduce the cost of the active (type that does not require leader unlike the RF tag) wireless sensor node, which currently is no less than several thousand yen at least, to about 100 yen. We are also trying to downsize and reduce the weight to a band-aid level. Since this node cannot measure the vital signs, application to humans may be limited. However, monitoring the temperature and activity level (liveliness) is basic to health management, and we wish to consider the health monitoring of infants and the elderly who must be monitored continuously at hospitals and homes.7 ConclusionWhat became apparent when working on this research is the fact that the researches on MEMS and packaging technology are only part of the technologies needed to solve the entire issue. MEMS research is basically a research for the manufacturing process technology, and it is about “drilling an extremely narrow, deep, and straight hole”. However, as such technologies are becoming mature in the 21st century, we are facing the issue of what (for what purpose and for which specifications) we shall make. We thought one of the answers was a device that can be used in ultra-small wireless sensor node, and started this research. However, whether MEMS itself was really necessary for the chicken health monitoring was frequently discussed. Fortunately, we were able to position the MEMS technology as being absolutely necessary, but if the boundary conditions change (for example, if it is used for pigs and cows), whether MEMS is necessary must be discussed in each case.In the beginning, the main issue of this research was the early detection of bird flu at farms, but as we talked with the livestock researchers, we started to consider the animal watch sensor from the perspective of animal welfare. With the upscaling of animal husbandry, the people of the metropolitan area are loosing the sense that they are consuming animal products, perhaps because the sites of production are far away from the city. Of course, livestocks are industrial animals and cannot be considered on the same level as pets and wild life. However, when one realizes that the eggs, milk, or meat are obtained from overweight animals that are fed high calorie food and may harbor risks of production diseases, we may want to reconsider whether we wish to consume such food. In Europe and the United States, the thinking of livestock welfare is spreading, and the approval system for Welfare Quality Products will be launched in 2010. In the evaluation committee for this system, the technological issues raised are “animal based measurement” or the assessment of “how the animals feel”. Therefore, we believe the animal watch sensor will become more important from the point of maintaining the welfare of the livestock, as an interface technology with animals.While many of the concepts and technologies for the wireless sensor network described in this paper were generated by focusing on the application to the chicken health monitoring, the individual technologies can be applied to other fields such as environmental monitoring including agriculture and disaster prevention. I think another major product of this research is to recognize that conducting the research with focused application may be an efficient way for pioneering a field or for creating inventions.AcknowledgementsThe product of the R&D described in this paper was obtained by the research team for the “Development of the Animal Watch Sensor for Safety” of the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The research team includes: Kenji Tsukamoto, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Animal Health; Takashi Masuda, Special Appointment Lecturer, The University of Tokyo; and Ken Kobayashi, Zhang Yi, and Hironao Okada, researchers, AIST.http://www.toukei.maff.go.jp/dijest/tikusan/tiku06/ tiku06.htmlTexas Instruments MSP 430 Microcontroller http:// focus.tij.co.jp/jp/mcu/docs/mcugettingstarteddetail.tsp ?sectionId=97&tabId=1511&familyId=342H. Okada, K. Suzuki, K. Tsukamoto and T. Itoh: Wireless sensor system for detection of avian influenza outbreak farms at an early stage, Proc. IEEE Sensors 2009, 1374-1377 (2009).T. Itoh, T. Masuda, K. Nakamura and H. Okada: Low-power consumption wireless sensor node and sensor network system (Tei shohi denryoku musen sensa tanmatsu oyobi sensa nettowaku shisutemu), Patent Application 2009-232154 (in Japanese).T. Itoh, T. Masuda, K. Nakamura and H. Okada: Wireless activity level sensor node and sensor network system (Musen katsudoryo sensa tanmatsu oyobi sensa nettowaku shisutemu), Patent Application 2009- 232153 (in Japanese).K. Kobayashi, T. Itoh, T. Ikehara, M. Ichiki and R. Maeda: Accelerometer, avian influenza monitoring system (Kasokudo sensa, tori infuruenza kanshi shisutemu), Patent Application 2008-151562 (in Japanese).T. Ikehara, T. Itoh, Y. Zhang, M. Ichiki, K. Kobayashi and R. Maeda: Thermosensor, health management system (Ondo sensa, seitai no kenko kanri shisutemu), Patent Application 2008-151555 (in Japanese).T. Itoh, T. Kobayashi, H. Okada, T. Masuda and T. Suga: A digital output piezoelectric accelerometer for ultra-low power wireless sensor node, Proc. IEEE Sensors 2008, 542-545 (2008).T. Kobayashi, H. Okada, T. Masuda and T. 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