Newspaper Article 1993 – Animal trackers plan to keep tabs on the elderly

Animal trackers plan to keep tabs on the elderly

A SMALL Government-owned electronics company that started out making electronic bugs to track wild animals is now looking at using the technology on old people and the intellectually handicapped.

Geriatrics with some form of senile dementia, such as alzheimers disease, and some intellectually handicapped people, tend to wander away from home if left unsupervised.

Sirtrack Ltd, a subsidiary of the Government’s Landcare crown research institute specialising in environmental  science, said yesterday it hoped to adapt its animal tracking equipment into devices for the elderly and intellectually handicapped.

The company’s sensors used in locating tagged animals, can monitor their behaviour, activity, posture, temperature, whether they are alive and even the sounds they make.

Science Minister Simon Upton will open a new building for Sirtrack on Friday at Havelock North.

The small business has produced electronic tracking equipment for use on wildlife, and oceanographic cables, and was formed as a subsidiary of Landcare Research in June.

Business manager and ecologist Dave Ward started out tracking possums in the late 1960s.

In 1985, Mr Ward and other Department of Scientific and Industrial Research scientists designed an animal location transmitter that was more efficient than overseas models, and in 1987 Sirtrack became a commercial business.

Since then Sirtrack has expanded its applications from tracking animals and birds with hand-held antennae to locating seismic cables in the ocean by satellite.

Sirtrack has five fulltime staff and three part-timers.

The small two gram transmitters do not alter the animal’s behaviour. – NZPA

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Business / Organisation

Sirtrack Limited

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Newspaper article

Date published

13 July 1993


The Dominion


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