Tracking monarch butterfly migration with the world’s smallest computer

By | October 27, 2020
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A prototype of the sensor is attached to the back of a monarch at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (André Green)

In a project funded by National Geographic, electrical and computer engineering researchers are teaming up with the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to advance our understanding of monarch butterfly migration with the most ambitious iteration of the Michigan Micro Mote yet.

The M3, created by David Blaauw, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and several other U-M researchers, is a fully energy-autonomous computing system that acts as a smart sensing system and can be configured for a wide variety of applications. For this project, the Mwill be glued to the back of individual monarch butterflies to track and monitor environmental conditions during migration.