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Lendvai AZ, Akçay Ç, Weiss T, Haussmann MF, Moore IT, Bonier F.2014. Low cost audiovisual playback and recording triggered by radio frequency identification using Raspberry Pi. PeerJ PrePrints2:e742v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.742v1
Carrying out playbacks of visual or audio stimuli to wild animals is a widely used experimental tool in behavioral ecology. In many cases, however, playback experiments are constrained by observer limitations such as the time observers can be present, or the accuracy of observation. These problems are particularly apparent when playbacks are triggered by specific events or are targeted to specific individuals. We developed a low-cost automated playback/recording system, using two field-deployable devices: radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and Raspberry Pi micro-computers. This system detects a specific passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag attached to an individual, and subsequently plays back the stimuli, or records audio or visual information. To demonstrate the utility of this system, we tagged female and male tree swallows from two box-nesting populations with PIT tags and carried out playbacks of nestling begging calls every time females entered the nestbox over a six-hour period. We show that the RFID-Raspberry Pi system presents a versatile, low-cost, field-deployable system that can be adapted for many audio and visual playback purposes. The low cost and the small learning curve make this set-up a feasible system for use by field biologists.
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Suppl. Info 1
The python script controlling the communication between the RFID reader and the Raspberry Pi. The script initiates the event-triggered audiovisual playback/recording.