Hello! We're just waiting for people to arrive and we'll get started in a few minutes. For now, you can direct questions to here >> https://hackaday.io/event/158212-hacking-the-wild and I'll relay them.
Rob Faludi joined the room.
Wish you could be here with us hpredko!
@blorgggg Welcome to hack chat! can you introduce yourself and your work?
Hi! I'm Andy Quitmeyer! I enjoying running around in fun natural places, playing with and checking out neat animals, and designing things that enable us to play and explore the world in different ways
@Morning.Star he does explain how they can cancel each other out
I am currently a professor at National University of Singapore and teach classes about my research that I call "Digital Naturalism"
That sounds really awesome! I"ve never heard of anything like it before.
Our first question comes from @hpredko, "I saw on Instagram there is a makerspace on a boat as well as the makerspace on the island. How do these two spaces work together? "
I am talking live from the funnest thing I have ever done which is put together an 8 week long conference for hackers, interaction designers, artists, and field biologists
Great questions @hpredko! They work very well together
My partner throwing this big crazy conference with me, Tasneem Khan, of Earth Colab, is a total awesome badass and has been helping expand this conference to awesome levels
she met this awesome guy Yannick, who has a ship that is normally rented out for tourist dives, but wanted to use it in the off-season to a) develop open source hardware for ships, and b) open it up to field biologists (instead of the boat just sitting in a dry dock 6 months of the year)
Awesome! So you have an electronics lab set up there?
So tasneem enlisted his help in return for helping convert the boat into a modular makerspace for art, tech, and science!
We get back and forth between the terrestrial labs at dinacon HQ
and the marine lab on the ship
hey @Rob Faludi !
or dingies, or longtail boats
though. opensource sidescan sonar array for high-resolution imaging? or a goggles-mounted couple-MHz sonar array for divers for synthetic vision in zero-visibility waters?
Rob is coming soon!
@hilbot Yep! We have an electronics workspace and some bio workspaces
Tasneem just set up some great flow tanks
Wow! thats wild!
where we can hold neat sea creatures for several days and study them keeping them healthy
and then release
currently we have a whole clutch of BABY SQUIDS we rescued from a ghost net
they hatch about 3-4 per day
and IT"S ADORABLE
we have microscopes for checking out their adorable chromatophores they are just learning to use!
I've designed lots of mobile makerspaces, but mostly terrestrial
...can you post pictures in this chat?
hey @Sophi Kravitz ! I'm heading out to this thing tonight.
those squids sound super cool
Yes! We would love to see pictures
for a poor-man's SOSUS array, with optional offline processing, recorded sounds can be timestamped (e.g. by reserving a few of the 64k symbols (assuming 16bit recording) of the stream for the edges of the PPS and NMEA signals of GPS).
could be handy for listening to underwater activity.
and the ship has all kinds of neat challenges, like space is super tight, so we have to make it all pack-away-able
standard rackmount size? :P
so electronics lab turns into wet lab, turns into microscope zone, turns into craft table , turns into kitchen table
If we could direct questions to the discussion here >> https://hackaday.io/event/158212-hacking-the-wild that would help keep the chat going smoothly please :)
Ill try to attach some photos!
Question from @Lutetium " Do you ever have to do complex programming tasks in strange environments, or do all your experiments rely on simple implementation? What is the most complex thing you've built while in nature? "
Have read the website's statement ("“Digital Naturalism investigates the role that Digital Media can play for Biological Field Work. It looks to uphold the naturalistic values of wilderness exploration, while investigating the new abilities offered by digital technology.”)
(my internet is not SUPER great here, but i will try to upload lot of pics here, but you can check out lots here right away: https://www.instagram.com/digital.naturalism.conference/?hl=en )
so does this 'digital naturalism' another media thingy, or do you do engineering design of test measurement systems for biological experiments? Please define this and other terms.
welcome @Jane Hacker !
"" Do you ever have to do complex programming tasks in strange environments, or do all your experiments rely on simple implementation? What is the most complex thing you've built while in nature? "" ---
large or minimal Complexity doesn't tend to be something i tend to focus on in my work that much. Many projects we do could be quite simple on the tech side (maybe some photo-resistors that trigger varying sounds) but how you arrange it or situate it in an experiment can be quite complex
Hackers in Paradise :-D
The most complex thing i can think of right now was maybe the insect traffic taster
Fiber-Optic Jungle Insect Traffic Taster
Here's a device that can sense the movement of tiny animals simultaneously in several different parts of the rainforest and then shares this information in realtime by stimulating your tongue! This how-to article will show you how you can build: Fiber Optic Insect Sensors Conductive Thread Switch Sensors for Insect Traffic Simple Audio Sonification for detecting changes Electro-Tactile Tongue Display And you can build it ENTIRELY IN THE WILD.
where different attempts at ant sensors would relay to some electrodes zapping your tongue in different areas to relay spaces of ant traffic
That is... really interesting. How do you decide to make these contraptions?
@Brian i'm not sure what another media thingy is? I don't necessarily do engineering tests of measurements systems, though sometimes that can be a part of it.
Now that is neat :-D
What life-science questions were asked that the 'insect traffic taster' answered?
@Brian i would say we focus on developing things for even earlier stages of the scientific process. Many of our "digital naturalist" tools are more about being able to ask new questions that can then be refined
So like for a scientist's process
many folks tend to focus on the final stages of experimentation: We have this protocol set up to answer some kind of question.
What are some of the questions that are being answered this time at dinacon?
but many biologists (especially field biologists) spend lots of time discovering interesting phenomena (often years!) of which to start asking questions about and then work at trying to answer
so you can think of our tools tending to be more for poking and probing in new ways
so all 'projects' are ad hoc without any design intent of experimental questions?
Something like traffic tasters, could start with letting you ambiently feel the movements of insects across a tree, ambiently over long days, and maybe you start noticing patterns you could try to explore further
What kind of tech can help you explore those kinds of patterns?
@Lindy lots of the participants come bursting with all sorts of questions. We currently have people working on 360 camera traps with ad-hoc sensors, capacitive bubble detectors for aeration detection in pipes, acoustic bio-monitoring via homebrewed raspberry pis linked up across the island analyzing audio and reporting what kinds of creatures are making sounds nearby (Alex Rogers of the audiomoth comes soon! we are excited!), People trying to do underwater timelapses, people trying to send data through capactive coupling betwen humans and plants
lots of fun stuff!
(BTW here's squids!)
Yay baby tentacles
gps-timestamp the sounds and you could even (with some issues) locate the critters like a passive radar.
woah, they're so weird!
they are so smol
a question from @Thomas Shaddack who wants to know a bit more about the data specifics "What kinds of data are you collecting? What sorts of instrumentation? Physical variables sensing only or are you also using some chemical sensors (even if just plain colorimetry or pH)? What data rates are your experiments providing (like, 48kHz/24bit sound from n channels, or an integer once per hour...), typically, some examples?"
@Thomas Shaddack - yeah the locations of the acoustic biomonitors are GPS timestamped! so we know where the creatures are coming from. Catharina Karlsson is currently doing that type of work here!
btw here's some of the people and their projects at the conference: https://www.dinacon.org/people/
same tech with geophones could be used for tracking elephants. they can sense the other ones by low frequency vibration.
Yeah, it seems like there are a lot of factors. @hpredko wants to know "What challenges arise when using electronics in the jungle? I don't imagine the humidity and intermittent rainstorms make this all easy.." and related from @Lutetium "Will the conference explore different areas of the wild? What concerns, expectations, challenges or exciting things can you expect? How will this impact the way people hack in these environments? "
@Thomas Shaddack 's question about data specifics - that really depends on the project! There's a zillion different projects going on right now here at the conference (and in general). It really depends on the goals of the project. Many of my own personal digital naturalist projects tend to focus on something i call "behavioral immersion" where the target is sending lots of the data to the humans in experiential ways to interpret, find patterns with, and investigate further. And so the data for that can be things like sensor values converted to sounds, videos, tactile sensations, zaps (like the traffic taster).
But something like catharina's acoustic monitoring does stuf like capture 48khz/24bit sound for 1 minute every 10 minutes, and then looks to use classifying algorithms to determine what creatures are around
@hpredko - one of my favorite aspects about building in the wild is how much it makes you away of your environment and your tools! There is so much we take for granted in the built environment (and it also leads us to forget lots of things and build lots of assumptions into the things we design!) and this is all so immediately clear once you start building outside. You understand how much electronics are real babies, and can barely take care of themselves, and expect static unchanging environments (which really influences how we think).
So yes some of the biggest hardships for wild hacking are moisture, power availability, decent worksurfaces, light (even in hot sunny places it gets DARK in the jungle), Organization, and information (here in thailand we have excellent cell network, but in some places like when we were in madagascar, there was no chance to google what the pinout of some chip you were using unless you had it saved somewhere first!)
Hah! Being in the jungle with no idea what your pinout is sounds like a special kind of nightmare
Also random things! - once in panama an army ant raid came right through our little campspace workshop, and we had to yank all our gear up, and some critters would die in your electronics, or chew them up. We had to put little dishes of water that our tripods would stand in to keep leaf cutters from getting all over them and other electornics
looks like the acoustic system is pretty similar to passive radars of military, including the signature discovery and classifications. a lot of SIGINT/ELINT approaches could be adapted for bio fieldwork, merely by moving them from RF to acoustic domain.
I'm looking forward to the constraints of working with electronics on an island where we'll just have whatever we brought. So as needs come up it's either find it in the forest or improvise.
>span class="s2">@JImmyMoe wants to know "I'm curious as to what type of Batteries and Power Supplies your working with." ?
Im mostly a terrestrial kind of jungle guy, but i'm meeting all sorts of ocean people now too, and WOW do they have it rough. the air is so salty i could watch my arduinos corrode in a day just from being on deck! I had to oil up lots of my electronics. IN ghana recently i had a whole outdoor workspace set up in a forest, but there were 400,000 fruit bats over us that led to a sort of "guano rain" effect that got bat turds all over our electronics - not good for connections and potentially pretty unhealthy!
@Rob Faludi 's that's one of my favorite part! Wild hacking is like improv for electronics!
@JImmyMoe - all sorts!
as of resource/logistics constrained environment, standardize on as small number of components as you can. same computer boards, whether raspi (or other) or arduino (or other - anything, just all the same microcontrollers, all the same embedded computers...). then you can cannibalize less important gear to get spares.
for batteries and power supplies, we got lots of different things depending on the needs
for short excursions USB battery packs (for like cellphones) can usually sustain whatever you need. I get a bunch of these simple USB upconverting cables that can turn the 5V into 9 or 12V, or make my own with some of those cheap voltage boosters you can find to even charge things like laptops (or provide better zapping power)
buck-boost converters for inputs of low voltage power supplies of the units are handy. then you can feed them from anything you got around as long as it can feed enough current. 5v, 12v, 24v, 3.7v, name it and it can give the whatever voltage your toy needs.
Sounds like there are some really interesting adventures. @Morning.Star wants to know "How would an aspiring hacker get into this kind of arena? Obviously not through regular scientific channels or a jobsearch..." ?
also multiconnector approach for the gear. so it can be fed from microusb or from barrel jack or whatever connectors your field environment contains the most often.
longer excursions need a way to recharge those batteries, so i have a bunch of foldable solar panels i carry around. So far solar has been our most reliable renewable energy source. We have tried hydro and pyro but they are not as relaible
yep good points thomas!
...we need small portable atomic piles....
and for long stays REALLy big solar arrays are our main thing. So now we have this big conference, we have 8 big 250watt panels linked up to 2, 2 kAmp hour batteries going to a big inverter. Our documentation gear and computers suck up most of that power
...russians used to have radioisotope thermoelectric generators on some of their dislocated stations like lighthouses...
@Morning.Star wants to know "How would an aspiring hacker get into this kind of arena? Obviously not through regular scientific channels or a jobsearch..." ? --- oh yeah, I'm just trying to figure it out myself
Basically my suggestions is first really figure out what kinds of things you really like doing in life, and for hobbies and for fun. Then find ways of doing these things and share them around freely and as much as you can. You can hunt for jobs in different places, but yes the fields of academia and regular scientific circles can sitll be pretty conservative.
on the other side though there is lots of growing interest in tech-meets-nature now (heck they gave me a silly show kinda around the topic). So opportunities are popping up in lots of areas
in art and deisgn cirlces there is more and more opportunities, jobs, and art residencies around bio
@blorgggg where can we watch your show?! And, do you have any other closing stories to leave us with about hacking in nature?
on the engineering side there are growing numbers of "conservation tech" people
Heheh... I'm better with machines and the environment than I am with people, it looks like you managed to get there with contacts more than anything. Where would I find them (besides your good self lol)
and groups (that even have jobs) building cool equipment for field biologists
like i'd reccomend joining the WILD labs
powered by United for Wildlife
Nice, thanks :-)
community. They have cool jobs that pop up, and REALLY fascinating challenges that come up
like recently they had a call for getting 10K to prototype a camera trap that was powered entirely by plants!
that sort of stuff!
Sounds like something I could throw myself at... :-D
powered entirely by plants you say, that sounds very interesting! can you expand on what that means?
and keep an eye out for conferences or meetups that might have a cross-sectional interest you might be into. There's so many people in the world, and there's lots of these communities you don't even know exist until you find out there are big groups of people all tackling something strange and interesting (and you don't even necessarily have to be a people person, just see some talks, or join a workshop). That being said lots of academic conferences can be pretty exclusionary (Which is why our dinacon.org is totally open to anyone)
oh yeah! that challenge was so cool
The Plant-Powered Camera Trap Challenge
Are you an architect, engineer, designer or a scientist? Can you design and manufacture a prototype open source plant-BES (bio electrochemical system) to power a camera trap and environmental sensors in tropical forests? Submit your concepts by April 30th to receive an award of £10,000 from the Arribada Initiative and OpenPlant to build and deploy it the field.
I really wanted to submit something, but was swamped at the time of the challenge!
that sounds awesome
are there lots of these challenges
im just looking at that site now
I'll totally be checking all this out, I love hacking with my hands. And I need a career change... ;-)
they actually supplied the BES,(bio electrochemical system) and you just had to figure out a way to hook it up to plants in a way that could be viable and power a camera!
exactly! I didn't even know these groups existed until like 1 year ago, and was not in touch much with these conservation technology crowds at all until like 2-3 years ago, and it's the type of stuff that just snowballs! It's crazy hard getting people from different disciplines talking to each other!
So i see that a bit as my role, poking around these different crowds, and getting them to talk to each other, and unite in a sort of common goal of being happy about nature, working in nature, respecting nature, saving nature, and exploring it!
Awesome! This has been super interesting @blorgggg ! Thanks for hanging out with us. Hack Chat is officially over now, but feel free to keep chatting if you want.
http://blog.arribada.org/ ( the group sponsoring that challenge) has great resources
Become a Hackaday.io Member
Create an account to leave a comment. Already have an account? Log In.