Network video plays role in endangered-species research

Laboratory in Slovenia uses megapixel cameras to monitor endangered salamander species.

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Network cameras with megapixel capability are playing a role in the research of an endangered species that requires an environment that typically provides significant difficulties for cameras. Arecont Vision recently announced that the Tular Cave Laboratory in Slovenia will permanently install a system of its cameras to monitor and study the European cave salamander (Proteus anguinus). "Up to eight Arecont Vision 5 megapixel AV5105DN cameras will be included in the permanent installation, which is expected to be completed by year end," Arecont said.

The company further explained that the installation will be made after successful trials of the camera technology in the salamander's habitat. Each trial, Arecont says, ran around the clock for 30 days, in which the camera was subjected to complete darkness and near 100-percent humidity. "The proteus salamander is a blind amphibian which dwells in subterranean waters, and Tular is one of the few places where the animal has been successfully studied," the company explained, adding that one of its cameras captured a Proteus laying eggs.

During the trials, the Arecont Vision AV5105DN day/night camera, equipped with a 4.5-13mm varifocal infrared lens, was mounted directly above the monitored pool, which was 3 to 6 feet away, or an experimental aquarium, which was 1 to 35 feet away. For observation of macroscopic details such as hatching, the camera was mounted on the video port of a stereo microscope. Because of high humidity and dripping water, the camera was enclosed in a plastic waterproof housing. Illumination was provided by three or four IR LED illuminations of various intensities to expose the entire area equally. The image at the bottom of this page was taken at the Tular Cave Lab and supplied by Arecont.

Images were transmitted via network to a computer that ran Arecont's AV100 software as the video management system. The software allowed technicians to precisely adjust the exposure settings and provided video recording based on motion detection triggered by the animal's behavior, Arecont said. The camera's H.264 compression technology minimized system bandwidth and storage needs, the company added.

According to Arecont, the AV5105DN camera provides full-motion progressive-scan 1280x1024 video at 30 frames per second and has a light sensitivity of 0.3 lux at F1.4. Features include forensic zooming to zero-in and view the details of a recorded image, motion detection and image cropping. The version used at the Tular Cave Laboratory includes a motorized IR cut filter, which Arecont says provides superior low-light performance.

Raul Calderon, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Arecont Vision, said, "With this scientific study and in any application where extremely fine detail is needed, there is no better solution than megapixel technology. The Tular Cave Laboratory is a unique surveillance need that demonstrates how megapixel provides more information and clearer details than other camera technologies, as well as more functionality."

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