We are pleased to announce that SoftWright has teamed up with researchers at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape of South Africa to use TAP™ 6.2 to aid the development of wireless health monitoring and radio tracking technology for endangered rhinos. It is well documented that rhino poaching is an urgent threat to both black and white rhino populations in South Africa. With illegal rhino horn fetching US $45,000+ per pound on the black market and a single rhino horn weighing between 10 and 20 pounds, it is no wonder that rhino poaching is a serious concern. South Africa is home to over 90% of the world’s rhinos. SoftWright visited South Africa recently as part of a trade mission coordinated by the Virginia Economic Development Program. We were moved by the gravity of the problem and are pleased to be able to contribute in this way.
The research effort is being conducted by the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The goal is to create a reliable, wearable, unintrusive radio tracking and health monitoring (including heart beat monitoring) device for rhinos. The envisioned device will be able to report the location and health information for individual rhinos wirelessly over South Africa’s vast wilderness areas. Simultaneous health and location monitoring of rhinos may facilitate ultra rapid response to rhino poaching in the near future.
Dr. Riaan Wolhuter, who oversees the research, notes that TAP™ will be especially valuable for the work due to the challenging nature of predicting RF propagation in such remote areas with the transmitter low to the ground and in the clutter. Moreover, the wearable device must optimize its power consumption in order minimize the size of the unit and maximize the battery life. Accurate design and modeling of the wireless communications using TAP™ 6.2 will accelerate the technology development and improve the performance of the fielded system.