Sensors for Impact Research

Collecting real-life data at scale

Bonsai Systems designs sensors and systems for impact research. We deploy low-power sensors capable of storing data which can then be read out with our apps by field workers. The data can then be viewed or downloaded via a web frontend so that different stakeholders get a comfortable access to the datasets.


Geo-Located Contact Sensors

Bonsai Systems provides sensors for rabies control study in N'Djamena.

In a project with the Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute in Basel we developed geolocated contact sensors (GCS) which allow to record movements (GPS traces) and contacts (proximity) between stray dogs. The sensors can record continuously up to 5 days and are provided in a sturdy housing that can be applied as a collar. The data allowed the researchers to build contact graphs. The ultimate goal is to build data-driven models which account for the impact of rabies vaccinations on a dog population, to be able to eradicate rabies with the least possible number of vaccinations.

Laager M, Mbilo C, Madaye EA, Naminou A, Le ́chenne M, Tschopp A, et al. (2018) The importance of dog population contact network structures in rabies transmission. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(8): e0006680.


Kerosene and solar lamp usage sensors

Bonsai Systems provides sensors for field experiment in Kenya.

In a project with NADEL (ETH Zürich), we provided 1’200 sensors measuring the usage of kerosene and solar lamps in rural areas in Africa. The sensors detected the times when a lamp was switched on and off and, for solar lamps, when it was charged. With the data, policymakers could evaluate the impact of providing solar lamps to the population to trigger a transition away from polluting and unhealthy kerosene lanterns.

World Economic Forum: Why solar lights could offer a solution to the world’s poor