mSAIL: Milligram-Scale Multi-Modal Sensor Platform for Monarch Butterfly Migration Tracking (MobiCom 2021)

Abstract: Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies across the northern US and Canada migrate up to 4,000 km to overwinter in the exact same cluster of mountain peaks in central Mexico. To track monarchs precisely and study their navigation, a monarch tracker must obtain daily localization of the butterfly as it progresses on its 3-month journey. And, the tracker must perform this task while having a weight in the tens of milligram (mg) and measuring a few millimeters (mm) in size to avoid interfering with monarch’s flight. This paper proposes mSAIL, 8 × 8 × 2.6 mm and 62 mg embedded system for monarch migration tracking, constructed using 8 prior customdesigned ICs providing solar energy harvesting, an ultra-low power processor, light/temperature sensors, power management, and a wireless transceiver, all integrated and 3D stacked on a micro PCB with an 8 × 8 mm printed antenna. The proposed system is designed to record and compress light and temperature data during the migration path while harvesting solar energy for energy autonomy, and wirelessly transmit the data at the overwintering site in Mexico, from which the daily location of the butterfly can be estimated using a deep learning-based localization algorithm. A 2-day trial experiment of mSAIL attached on a live butterfly in an outdoor botanical garden demonstrates the feasibility of individual butterfly localization and tracking.

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