Public Release: 

UNIST to track the spread of deadly avian influenza

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)

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IMAGE: UNIST celebrates the official signboard-hanging ceremony of the Self-powered Mobile Tracker Research Center (SMTRC) on September 12, 2017. view more 

Credit: UNIST

The official signboard-hanging ceremony of the Self-powered Mobile Tracker Research Center (SMTRC) took place at UNIST on September 12, 2017.

The center, which was selected as the University ICT Research Center for nurturing ICT talents in June of this year, has recently embarked on a research project to develop a new type of tracking device, capable of monitoring the migration routes of wild birds.

By successfully securing 3.19 billion KRW in research funding over four years, the project is expected to accelerate the development of a self-powered tracking device for bird flu outbreak prediction. The center will receive 2.9 billion KRW from the Korean government and 290 million KRW from the city of Ulsan in subsidies. Additional funding will be also given over two years after further evaluation.

Under the direction of Professor Franklin Bien of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNIST, the center aims to develop fundamental technologies to overcome the challenges and limitations of the current tracking devices.

This breakthrough, called Mobile Tracker has gotten much media attention as a technology to lead a global market, as it can be applied to various location tracking systems. Through this new tracking system, the captured and monitored wild bird migration data will be transferred to the server via data communication module. Using data visualization techniques, it is possible to compile the vast amounts of data into a risk map to batter understand and predict at-risk areas of outbreaks.

The center hopes to tackle the issues surrounding poor battery life and size via the following projects, which include the development of ? High Reliability Energy Harvesting Technology ? Wireless Communication HW Solution ? Communication/Network Transmission and Reception Protocol ? Big Data-based Mobile Visualization System ? Mobile Tracker Application Technology. These technologies will be, then, applied to various areas in the field of information technology (IT), including real-time logistics tracking and missing-child prevention services.

"With the help of those technologies, we will soon be able to build a self-powered miniature tracking device, capable of transmitting location information in real-time," says Professor Bien. "This will help minimize the risk of introducing infectious animal diseases, such as avian influenza (AI)."

This new research center, with a gross floor area of 131-square meters, is located in the Engineering Building III at UNIST and will be used as a common equipment room, as well as for a space for fusion research.

"Mobile Tracker is of great value, as it is a highly versatile tool for many applications and industries," says President Mooyoung Jung. "Through this project UNIST hopes to contribute to economic growth in Ulsan region."

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The ceremony was attended by 30 guests affiliated with the center, including President Mooyoung Jung of UNIST, Director SangHong Lee of the Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion, Manager ByeongTaek Cho from the ICT and Broadcasting Technology Policy Division of the Ministry of Science and ICT, Manager SeokGyeom Kim from the Industry Promotion Division of Ulsan City Hall, HeungSoo Lee from the Regional Industry Promotion Division of Ulsan Technopark, and Vice President JongYeol Lee of FCI Co. Ltd.

The University ICT Research Center project is supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & communications Technology Promotion). The project has been supporting the university-industry cooperation and aims to foster highly-talented human resources through the technology development at universities.

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