They chose the European Hamster in Alsace21 March 2018
Dimitri Halter and Louis Paris, two Electrical Engineering students in their 5th year at INSA (French National Institute of Applied Sciences) in Strasbourg, chose the European Hamster in Alsace for their student research project in electronics. On Tuesday 16 January 2018, they presented the final result of their project, which was to design a receiving system suitable for the transmitters used by the ONCFS (French National Hunting and Wildlife Agency) to tag and monitor the hamsters.
Victor Talbot and Sébastien Tourneur, 5th year students specialising in mechatronics, have also been working on the subject of a smart sensor. They studied the possibility of making a receiver linked to a system of automated image capture with the aim of generating a hamster presence card.
Louis Paris and Dimitri Halter
The receiver, together with an amplifier, is able to receive signals from the transmitters worn by the hamsters. It also remembers its GPS position, which can later be transferred to a card.
Dimitri and Louis are still planning a few minor adjustments to their system. But once it is finished, the receiver will be fitted to an automated flight drone developed at INSA in Strasbourg by the electric and mechatronic engineering students.
The drone will fly over the farm landscape in search of specific missing hamsters. This stage is usually quite fastidious for the ONCFS agents, as the strength of the signal sent from a transmitter only enables the characteristic ‘beep’ to be heard at a distance of about 50m in the best conditions. So, when the signal is lost (because the animal has travelled long distances or it has been caught by a predator), it is necessary to search all the neighbouring plots of land, travelling up and down about every 80m. This requires a lot of energy and, as it impossible to travel across the whole area in one day and because the animal may also move around, it is sometimes necessary to start all over again.
The project is a fresh approach that could help promote the future of the European Hamster monitoring and protection programmes. Our thanks to the students and Renaud Kiefer, a teacher-researcher at INSA, for their enthusiasm and creativity