BLE-based micro-transmitter and monitoring app

Sensoren, Geräte und Komponenten : Geräte

Ref.-Nr.: 0707-5558-MG

A lightweighted,  long-life, long-range and low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based tracking system with monitoring app.


Tracking systems to monitor wildlife, pets or stock animals generally use GPS transmitter which provide information on location, migration routes or behaviour. As a result of energy, battery and communication requirements the devices either become too bulky and cumbersome for small and lightweighted animals or they only allow monitoring over small distances or shorter time periods. Moreover, the cost-intensive production of such devices generates expensive purchasing prices which often forces users to track only a limited number of animals at a time. Other tracking systems like geo-locators have improved size-weight specifications, but are less precise and require re-capturing of the carrier to read out gathered data.


Scientist of the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Seewiesen have developed a lightweighted,  long-life, long-range and low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based tracking system. The BLE micro-transmitter exclusively transfers low-energy ID-information and instead of using batteries, harvests solar energy, which significantly reduces power consumption and thereby weight, size and production costs of the device. With a total weight of < 1 g, manufacturing costs of ~ 10 € and a lifelong maintenance-free operation, the micro-transmitter makes it possible to not only equip animals with body sizes as low as  20 g (birds, rodents etc.), but to also track large numbers of animals over their lifetime. This estimation is based on a load not exceeding 5 % of the body weight of the carrier animal but could, likely, be higher in case of small mammals.

Within a range of 1 km the ID-signal can be received by any BLE-enabled devices like smartphones or computers after installing a customized application. The signal is then further enriched by metadata of the BLE-enabled devices including position, detection time or other relevant information, and sent to a central distributed data storage. The ubiquitous availability of BLE receivers in smartphones, computer or other devices allows for establishment of a global tracking network and significantly increases communication antenna range. Pooling of all gathered information on a cloud server enables app user to map the current position of animals, monitor movements over long distances and time periods and predict future positions.

Transmitter specifications

  • Size 8 x 14 x 2 mm
  • Weight: < 1 g
  • Production costs: ~ 10 €
  • Life estimate: lifetime
  • Power: + 20 dbm (100 mW)
  • Range: 1 km

Patent Information

A PCT application was filed on March, 1st 2019: WO2019166646A1. National in EP, US, CA and AU.

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