Super fun! Sorry i missed this earlier, was out in the field!
Jungle Interaction Design
Our research at DINALAB has been about DIY interaction design for field biology (quick zine primer on dissertation here: http://andy.dorkfort.com/andy/digitalnatural/2015/11/03/dissertation-booklet-digital-naturalism-theory-and-guidelines/ ).
A quick and easy pointer to lots of great projects comes from our “Dinacon.” We have been running a couple large scale, long format conferences where people document and share their projects openly and we compile them into a color+photo book dinacon.org/book (All free to download and use and share).
Recently we have been setting up our Jungle Makerspace here in Panama next to the Smithsonian Tropical Research institute, but the Pandemic really set us back (we had lots more expeditions, jungle hacking events, and residencies here all scheduled and had to cancel).
One of my main projects has been about developing super cheap Wild Insect Traffic Sensors https://conservationx.com/lab/projects/wildinsecttrafficsensors/2414
with my goal of being able to track ant traffic throughout a jungle in many spots over many days, and my artistic goal of making a set of “Wearable Ant Farms” (one early example)
and we have been making some progress with a nice little funding and support from Conservation X Labs but some illnesses, emergency volunteering, and freelance work to keep the lab afloat have set us back this fall, but we got a little more funding and will be taking a break to focus on that this upcoming year!
Jungle Bridge Repair for Science!
Meanwhile the kind of “emergency volunteering” we have been doing that i mentioned has been pretty fun. There’s an important scientific field site here called “Pipeline Road” that due to bureacracy and now pandemic has been left to become incredibly dangerous and threatens to become shutdown permanently. But us and the sustainable architecture company Cresolus, and a handful of rogue volunteers have been somewhat secretly maintaining it, but now have successfully also raised funds publicly to repair the first set of bridges (built in the 1940’s!) and help scientists maintain access to studies that have been going on for decades there! It’s funny, doing open science hardware work, I usually have been thinking about making designs and code, but didn’t realize I would be helping reconstruct gigantic jungle bridges was going to be as important of a scientific project too!
For folks who want to see videos of rescuing and repairing cool old jungle bridges check these out:
and the crowdfunding video has lots of great shots of this incredible road:
The other emergency volunteering project we have been doing is with a group called https://www.appcpanama.org/ . They are an endangered animal rescue and rehab center here in Gamboa Panama, which had a lot of its funding and resources cut with the pandemic, so we have been volunteering there and building animal enrichment toys. I’ve also been teaching some interaction design classes at like ITP NYU, and NMHU to let students design digital enrichment projects which we can build and test out. Some things include 3D printed food bowls with integrated moats to prevent ant attacks, Monkey houses, and designing sensors for playtoys for a 400lb tapir! Plus we collect lots and lots of very cute animal footage because of this:
WARNING here’s an incredibly cute rescued baby sloth https://www.instagram.com/p/CIcHcCUB8aj/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
here’s a 360 VR video from when we were working to measure the Tapir https://youtu.be/oE29G6nk6mw
These aren’t really outdoors or hardware proejcts, but we have also been doing some last minute little projects for the Smithsonian in Panama (who, because of the pandemic had a bunch of their stuff cut, and reorganized) so we provided all the content for their Q-Digital Kids platform
We made Bilingual (spanish+english) open source games and video for them. For instance a Covid-19 simulator game:
and a fun Leaf-Cutter Ant simulation game:
So anyway, that’s a bunch, but also free to contact with more suggestions and sharing about other projects and stuff from folks I encountered. email@example.com