Social Network Analysis using Infrared Technology -Kenny and Carolina
- The aim of this project is to distribute unique infrared (IR) devices among woolly monkeys in order to remotely collect and record data on social interactions. Each monkey will be given a stickpin capable of both transmitting and receiving infrared signal. Individual stickpins vary in the pattern with which they transmit infrared signal, thereby allowing us to uniquely identify each individual and determine with whom--and for how long (see Problems)--the animals are spending time.
- This project was inspired by one prior study, TraceEncounters, which performed a similar social networking analysis on human subjects using infrared stickpins.
- This project can potentially address a number of methodological problems for collecting social data in the field. First, the unique stickpins that we use provide an accurate and independent identification of each individual, removing possible issues of accuracy (e.g., misidentifying an individual) and bias (e.g., repeatedly sampling only known individuals). Second, the stickpins provide an independent source of information on social encounters directly in the context in which occur. In contrast, ground observers generally have to accept a certain level of inaccuracy due to obstructed views, the lack of precise distance measures, the difficulty of observing multiple individuals simultaneously, and so on. Third, the stickpins have the potential for generating massive quantities of data that would take many more personnel and much more time to match using current methods.
- We begin our experiment phase by attaching infrared transmitters to human volunteers. Receiver(s) will be mounted at a central location, most likely a public wall at ITP. When a volunteer passes by a receiver, a signal will be received and processed. Data will then be transmitted from the receiver (an Arduino unit) to the internet via ethernet and an email message or SMS will be sent to a project member.
Materials and Methods
- "Monkey is in the p-comp lab!"-Carolina
- Proof of concept for identifying individuals via IR LED Senders and receivers in the collar.
- Small broches with 555 timer to make LEDS blink in different speeds (so we can detect different individuals) are detected by an IR receiver connected to an arduino.
- When they are detected a message is sent to a website: Monkey X is in the p.comp lab!
- Users can be notified of the location of Monkey via e-mail or sms
- Possibly an android app will be developed as well.
- 555 timer - wire jumpers - prototype board - resistors (different values) - capacitors (different values) - infrared led emiter - infrared led receiver - arduino - ethernet shield - lantronix serial to ethernet module
Problems and Troubleshooting
- What do our data actually mean?: Because of limitations of infrared, we cannot know for certain how close and for how long individuals remain in association. The stickpins are unable to record distances and will be limited in the range and directionality needed to maintain a signal. The idea, however, is that the stickpins will register more interactions among animals that spend more time together. This information may prove valuable in understanding and visualizing networks of social interactions. In order to accomplish this, however, we will need to conduct preliminary research and experimentation in order to gain a sense of how biologically meaningful the data are.
- Downloading data:
In the future: impact on other projects
- Accelerometry: We would like to test, using the IR stickpins, whether or not monkeys exhibit different sets of motions while in social situations. Are there recurrent patterns that occur only in this context? If so, we may be able to not only infer when monkeys are in proximity, but also gain a sense of what they are doing in these situations. We would also like to test whether monkeys synchronize their motions in social situations. The idea here is that, to maintain a social connection, the monkeys will need to move in similar ways. If this is true, we may be able to infer which monkeys are socializing and for how long, even when there is no infrared communication between attached stickpins. We can therefore partially circumvent the limitation of range and direction.
- Video camera traps: