Novel Applications of Spacecode RFID in Insect and Mammalian Research

Press Release, October 20, 2006, Paris: Spacecode, a provider of specialist RFID systems for challenging applications, has been selected by the Ethology department (LEEC) of the leading PARIS XIII Science University to develop a dedicated RFID System with the sole objective of extensively and comprehensively studying the dynamics of behaviour and organisation of social insects and small mammals in heterogeneous open environments for three species – mice, cockroaches, and ants.

When the LEEC lab studies the Ethology of social Hymenoptera, it is from a methodological individualism perspective, focusing on individuals’ rules of decisions and their impact on the resulting collective organization. Such individual identification can prove particularly tricky when studying large groups of animals. When faced with such challenges, the LEEC has repeatedly proven to be a major force of proposal, through its ability to adapt innovative technologies to research needs.

‘The role of RFID has long been considered and postulated in the field of our research’ says Dominique Fresneau, Professor of Ethology ‘but until now we have never found a solution capable of functioning in such a unique and challenging environment. In Spacecode we have for the first time identified an RFID solution capable of meeting our requirements without compromise’. The technology is able to be produced in difficult, stringent, and small form factors capable of being innocuously affixed to the creatures without interfering in their daily activities or behaviour. ‘In this way we are able to closely study the behaviour of these species in an unhindered and uncompromising fashion’ says Professor Fresneau.

Specific attributes of the study require an RFID solutions that is unaffected by the presence of organic material such as body matter and body liquid of the studied species. It also must have no demonstrated adverse affects on the creatures. Spacecode’s low frequency proposal was hence selected and the solution has been very successfully implemented.

“To fit the requirements of this Academic Study, we used our nano tag series with specifically designed and customised antenna. The tags proved small enough to be fixed to an ant without hindering its movements, and yet still generate a reasonable and functional read range. The project has proved an exciting advance in the use of RFID, and has really pushed the limits of innovation” says Georges Folcked, Head of Engineering for Spacecode. We are very encouraged the results from and collaboration with leading authorities in the field”.