JRM Vol.29 No.1 pp. 255-267
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2017.p0255


Swarm of Sound-to-Light Conversion Devices to Monitor Acoustic Communication Among Small Nocturnal Animals

Takeshi Mizumoto*1, Ikkyu Aihara*2, Takuma Otsuka*3, Hiromitsu Awano*4, and Hiroshi G. Okuno*5

*1Honda Research Institute Japan Co., Ltd.
8-1 Honcho, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0188, Japan

*2Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, Tsukuba University
1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8573, Japan

*3NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Corporation
2-4 Hikaridai, Seikacho, Kyoto 619-0237, Japan

*4VLSI Design and Education Center, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan

*5Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
2-4-12 Okubo, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-0072, Japan

July 21, 2016
October 17, 2016
February 20, 2017
swarm robotics, environmental monitoring, sound imaging, acoustic communication, nocturnal animal

Swarm of Sound-to-Light Conversion Devices to Monitor Acoustic Communication Among Small Nocturnal Animals

Sound-to-light conversion devices, Fireflies, in Oki Island and their lighting pattern of frog calling

While many robots have been developed to monitor environments, most studies are dedicated to navigation and locomotion and use off-the-shelf sensors. We focus on a novel acoustic device and its processing software, which is designed for a swarm of environmental monitoring robots equipped with the device. This paper demonstrates that a swarm of monitoring devices is useful for biological field studies, i.e., understanding the spatio-temporal structure of acoustic communication among animals in their natural habitat. The following processes are required in monitoring acoustic communication to analyze the natural behavior in the field: (1) working in their habitat, (2) automatically detecting multiple and simultaneous calls, (3) minimizing the effect on the animals and their habitat, and (4) working with various distributions of animals. We present a sound-imaging system using sound-to-light conversion devices called “Fireflies” and their data analysis method that satisfies the requirements. We can easily collect data by placing a swarm (dozens) of Fireflies and record their light intensities using an off-the-shelf video camera. Because each Firefly converts sound in its vicinity into light, we can easily obtain when, how long, and where animals call using temporal analysis of the Firefly light intensities. The device is evaluated in terms of three aspects: volume to light-intensitycharacteristics, battery life through indoor experiments, and water resistance via field experiments. We also present the visualization of a chorus of Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) recorded in their habitat, that is, paddy fields.

Cite this article as:
T. Mizumoto, I. Aihara, T. Otsuka, H. Awano, and H. Okuno, “Swarm of Sound-to-Light Conversion Devices to Monitor Acoustic Communication Among Small Nocturnal Animals,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.29, No.1, pp. 255-267, 2017.
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Last updated on Nov. 12, 2018