Energy-aware portable video communication system design for wildlife activity monitoring

Zhihai He, Jay Eggert, Wenye Cheng, Xiwen Zhao, Joshua Millspaugh, Remington Moll, Jeff Beringer, Joel Sartwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this paper, we introduce our recent research and development effort on energy-efficient portable video communication system design for wildlife activity monitoring. The capability of seeing what an animal sees in the field is very important for wildlife activity monitoring and research. We design an integrated video and sensor system, called DeerCam and mount it on animals so as to collect important video and sensor data about their activities in the field. From the video and sensor data collected by DeerCam, wildlife researchers will be able to extract a wealth of scientific data for studying the behavior patterns of wildlife species and understanding the dynamic of wildlife systems. We present the system architecture of DeerCam, explain our system design goals, and discuss major design issues. One of the central challenges in DeerCam system design is energy minimization. We present a new approach for energy minimization of portable video devices: power-rate-distortion (P-R-D) analysis and optimization. We discuss various approaches to minimizing the energy consumption of DeerCam, which can be also applied to other portable video devices. Results demonstrate that, by incorporating the third dimension of power consumption into conventional rate-distortion (R-D) analysis, P-R-D analysis gives us one extra dimension of flexibility in resource allocation and energy minimization and allows us to significantly reduce energy consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Embedded system
  • Energy minimization
  • Environmental tracking
  • Video coding


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