What with Halloween soon upon us and all, I got to thinking about coming up with a topic that’s related to both Trick or Treat and embedded electronics. I’m sure that folks can think of lots of different connections – other than the obvious one of dusting off an old slide rule, finding a pocket protector, and putting some adhesive tape across the bridge of your glasses and going as an engineer from back in the day (i.e., back before people realized how cool our profession is!). But the one I came up with is the bat deaths associated with wind farms.
Believe it or not, this is a big deal – lots of bats (and birds) are being killed by flying into wind turbines, and changing air pressure in and around wind farms can also have a really negative impact on bats. (Their lungs can explode.) It’s an issue that’s getting more attention as we look for energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels.
Last winter, there was an interesting article by Roger Drouin on Grist that listed “Eight Ways Wind Power Companies Are Trying to Prevent Deadly Collisions”.
Some of the ways don’t have a lot to do with Critical Link’s line of work – like find places to locate wind turbines that aren’t on bat and bird migratory paths, or painting the blades a color that doesn’t attract the sort of insects that bats eat. But other ideas would be the kind of applications that we get involved in: using radar to detect to identify when bat colonies are approaching, and slowing the speed down; and strike detection that would also slow or shut things down once a turbine had been hit.
We tend to think about the positive environmental impacts of alternative energy, and not on some of the problems that go along with it.
Anyway, something to think about and, since it is about bats, this post is at least vaguely related to Halloween.
So Happy Halloween to everyone.
My kids are beyond the age where they go Trick or Treating, so no goody bags to raid in my house – other than the bowl of candy we have ready for our guests. I’ll have to see what’s around the Critical Link kitchen. (There is always something.)