Dec 012012
Puppeting Principal Components

As a first prototype for part of our Aquarium Project, David Stolarsky is heading up a program where we calculate principle components of some arbitrary training data (Tucker’s semaphore poses), and the computers attempts at reconstructing the original scene from the new data (me wiggling) are mapped to C’s E’s and G’s to sonify a Chord in Pure Data.

Sep 042012
Ants Secret Code - Reveal

Earlier, I posted a video of leafcutter ants claiming that it contained a secret code. Well it’s true! Here’s how to crack the code, and how I encoded my messages in the first place.   Deciphering The astute observer may take note that the ants carrying leaves only travel in one direction (towards the nest). In fact, this is the entire underpinning to the code. When I presented the puzzle to my lab, the response I got that was closest to correct was from Prof. Tucker Balch who stated that the first thing he would do is “chart the number of leaf carriers visible in each frame over time and look […more]

Sep 042012
Leafcutter Ants Secret Code

The video below contains a secret message: I’ll reveal the secret and how to figure it out on Tuesday, so you’ll have all of Labor day weekend to ponder. First one to email me with the correct answer gets a prize (don’t email the whole list- serve and ruin the fun!). First one to email me with how to arrive at the correct answer gets mild applause 🙂 ——————————- Hint 1: To work with the video, it may be easier to download it all at once. Just pop the link into http://www.savevid.com/ Hint 2: (don’t use the hint unless you have to!): This video is slightly easier to decipher:

Aug 172012
Magnetic Insect Testing

Not sure if people have been doing this for dozens of years in the insect world already (maybe this is common practice?), but I just ran some successful tests on an idea I had that I think could lead to some fun experiments. I was reading the fantastic book, The Ants, and they were discussing how one of the interesting characteristics of working with superorganisms is that you can non-destructively turn them into mutants. Regular organisms tend to permanently change when you drastically alter them. You cannot do a quick test with an ape to see how it behaves differently if you remove its liver, or chop off its arm, […more]

Aug 032012
Armed Robbery Computer Vision Help

Our department kept getting contacted by the campus police asking if we can basically do the “zoom-enhance” that you see in the movies. Nobody responded, but they kept asking. Finally I volunteered to look at it, though I know nothing about any video enhancement algorithms. They had a handful of pics from where the people broke into the dorms, and some really horribly compressed video from a gas station. I basically ended up using photoshop and after effects to just supply them with some cropped and expanded mugshots, but the ones from the video were so bad, I doubt it’s helpful at all. Though as one professor put it about […more]

Aug 032012
DIY Bookscanner Building | CNC

Since I’m still near the beginning of my PhD, and about to take on my reading list,  I decided I need a proper system for searching the text I read and keep digitized notes. I need a bookscanner. A badass, non-destructive one. If I’m going to be reading thousands of pages of material, i need a good way to keep it ready and at hand. Plus, I am a DIGITAL MEDIA MAJOR. So I’ve been looking into them for the past year, but they are EXPENSIVE. One awesome guy, Daniel Reetz (http://diybookscanner.org/), shows how people can build their own, but the design is still very complicated and expensive. He sells […more]

Jul 292012

I am the lead researcher on several scientific biotracking projects at Georgia Tech  

Jun 222012
Final Pipeline | Soft Metrics

Last serious trip on Pipeline. What am I filming? The road. Camera pointed down the road. Regular and HDR video. Could be used for detecting Blue Morphos, but also sitting with and observing this slice through the forrest.   First thought is just boring. Dead forrest with an occasional jungle truck or Blue Morpho. But there are some decent soft metrics one could probably pull from this. This constant, jungle monitoring camera. Daily weather patterns, wind, leaves falling, sounds, tree movement, general movement along transect, traffic patterns.   Chased butterflies. Figured out how to make Hamatam army-ants retreat. It was a different day knowing that these probes and pokes would […more]

Jun 212012
Ants Love Human Blood | Termite Rebuilding

6/21/2012 Let’s hurry up and get some facts down. Quick for memory. Early to bed. Up at 7:30 but not going till 9. K_____ Just went to cecropia lot for last bits of footage, sugar water testing and termite rebuildings. Turns out they can rebuild one of these tunnels within an hour. Long-ish lunch discussing experimental ideas for Peter with Stephen. Back to parking lot. Tested whether ants prefered the taste of human blood over sugar water. They really seemed to like the blood. Met with Yann returning from San Blas. ———– Wanted to go to Bambi talk. It’s impressive how organized biologist are in this STRI commune. (http://www.stri.si.edu/english/about_stri/seminars/index.php) The […more]

Jun 202012
Long Day | DIY BioCraft Talk

6/20/2012 (recorded 6/22) Long part of 2 day-long day. Down at 330, Up at 5:30 for canopy tower visit. Saw blue cotinga.   All girls were super tired. They left to go sleep. I stayed in jungle for work. More army ants. Found em, experimented with them. They were raiding leaf cutters. Pipeline road serves as a decent permanent transect. Elucidates animals corssing through the forrest. Made it back (walking) around 1:30. Ate changed, prepped for my talk. Lots of mad rushing around. All the parts and projectors and arduinos i needed were somewhere else. The talk was a huge success though! Biologists seem easily impressed by decent presenting and […more]

Jun 192012

Here are some of the images from my vulture tracking testing and my ant blood testing. Surrounded a pile of fish guts with some cameras.

Jun 192012
Notes - Biologists Talks | Rapist Fish

Teague O’Mara talk: Teague is testing information sharing within colonies of bats. The bat is Peter’s tent making bat. They chew big leaves in a certain way that turns them into little pup-tents. His experiment: See if bats change their food preference by odor transfer within the roost. See if they assess the information quality within roost A lot of this experimentation takes the form of having well fed bats in a colony that smell normal, and having unfed bats in the colony that are doused with a particular candy scent. I told him about the experiment I heard about where they inflate bats’ stomachs to make them appear full […more]

Jun 172012
Long days, Do everything

6/17/2012| ————– First morning  with official housing again! No longer homeless! Down 3:50 Up 9:00 Huge breakfast, work on robotic woodpecker. More random difficulties in making a portable servo motor behave like a woodpecker than I would have thought. Pays off though. The Azteca ants respond like crazy! [Update Peter actually published some science about this] Crazy lunch. Join Stephen Pratt in pipeline for army ant hunt. Find nothing. Great hike however! Go back home to the ridge to film our captured bullet ants. Watch fight club and write script for cecropia documentary with Peter. Get back to 150 to film bat girls experimenting with bat. I set up camera […more]

Jun 162012
Technojunglier | Shave a Tree

One of the biggest stressors faced by the Technojunglier is losing equipment. I find that 90% of things I lose actually stay with me in some form. Usually they are just hidden in nooks or lost in areas of quick decision placement (like when rain strikes). It can be interesting when a seemingly innocuous peripheral is lost, for designing its replacement / or dealing the  consequences FORCE you into the mindset of this article. Forces you to understand exactly what the thing does, and why it was made this way and not that way. Puts you in the role of the thing. [Update thought, oooh what some Object Oriented Ontology […more]

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