Moth Actograph Senior Design Project

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Sarah Haight


A team of Electrical and mechanical engineering students have been tasked to build an actograph (a device to record movement or activity) for Dr. Jesse Barber, a Biologist at Boise State University. As part of Dr. Barber’s research to study animal behavior, the activity pattern of moths will be collected by the device. Moths will be placed in the actograph for 24-48 hours and activity will be logged every two seconds. This data will be used to study the relationship between bats and moths and the evolution of possible defense mechanisms that moths have developed. The actograph is designed to emit beams of infrared light across all 6 sides of the box toward phototransistors that will detect the infrared signal. As the moth moves past a beam of light, the activity is detected, time stamped, and saved to an SD card by an Arduino microprocessor. Once the 24-48 hour period is completed, the data will be extracted from the SD card and placed into MS Excel where a histogram can be generated showing activity versus time of day plot.

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