Read the full version of my PhD dissertation. Freely available here to preview or download:
This research aims to develop and evaluate a design framework for creating digital devices that support the exploration of animal behaviors in the wild. In order to carry out this work, it both studies ethology’s foundational ideas through literature and also examines the contemporary principles at a rainforest field station through on-site ethnographies, workshops, design projects, and interactive performances. Based upon these personal and practical investigations, this research then synthesizes a framework to support digital-ethological practice. Finally, this framework is utilized to design additional ethological expeditions and activities in order to assess the framework itself. The resulting framework encourages digital technology that supports four key concepts. Technological Agency pushes for devices that promote understanding of their own internal functions. The tenet of Contextual Crafting leads designers and ethologists to create devices in close proximity to their intended use. Behavioral Immersion promotes visceral interactions between the digital and organismal agents involved. Finally, Open-Endedness challenges researchers to create adaptable tools which strive to generate questions rather than answering them. Overall, this research, referred to as Digital Naturalism, explores a developing design space for computers in the wild
Digital Naturalism: Designing A Digital Media Framework To Support Ethological Exploration by Andrew Quitmeyer on Scribd
This book covers all the projects from the initial 2016 Waterspace project. It is provided free for reading and sharing. You can read digital copies and download the PDF from SCRIBD (below).
You can also easily print your own half-letter sized double-sided booklets from this version:
Waterspace (Booklet Printing Version)
This booklet is a distilled version of my 600 page academic dissertation designed to be more accessible for those inquiring about this work.
Download the full PDF here
Digital Naturalism – Theory and Guidelines by Andrew Quitmeyer
The latest publication from the Wildhackers is now available in print and digital formats! We want to share our adventures, discoveries, and technologies with you! Also 10 dollars of each book sold goes straight to funding new hiking hack expeditions around the world! Every little bit helps us get extra gear like solar panels and sensors along with covering transportation costs and (hopefully) scholarships for potential applicants to join us!
Order a copy now!
This book is freely available too as a PDF! (free as in pizza and freedom)
Hacking the Wild Making Sense of Nature in the Madagascar Jungle
2014 Poster (Printed on Spoonflower Performance Knit sheet for ultimate Mobility)
2013 Poster (Winner GTRIC Best Poster)
Original Poster for Digital Naturalism
All of my core participants are given their own official journals in which to keep their thoughts. I offered several different sizes, shapes, and abilities of journals so they they could choose on that best suited them. Both Toni and Peter opted for the smaller sized journals with Peter choosing the waterproof one (that you can’t use pens on), and Toni opting for the top-bound mini-drawing pad.
They are tasked with writing an entry everyday, and tackling these four guideline question/tasks (which are glued inside the journal).
Questions for Research Journal
For each day please document your experiences. Here are four questions to also answer for each entry:
1. Describe an animal (or human (or robotic)) performance which you have witnessed or participated.
2. Physically act out one specific detail of the performance now in a new context. Tell us what you selected, why, and any insights to this displaced, separated, reenacted behavior.
3. Did you create, test, or repurpose any tools or techniques today?
4. In the way that your tool performed, how did it change yours or the animals behavior?
Other questions for inspiration:
How could you turn the behavior into a game? a love story?
What superpowers would let you change the meaning of the behavior? Can you trick the animal? Can you make it do the opposite of normal?
What props or objects could help you embody life as your animal?
“What is Digital Naturalism” PDF “Inspirations” PDF Design Considerations for Ethology PDF
I compiled several different projects at the intersections of performance art, literature, design, physical computing, and cybiotic animal-machines. The goal was to have a rich reference guide for scientists to browse, investigate, and potentially adapt to their own approaches for engaging with or disseminating their research. I also made another guide, “What is Digital Naturalism” to quickly explain my research, when encountering interested parties in non-digital places (like the jungle).
For visual and textual knowledge sharing, this project faced interesting design challenges. I wanted to make booklets (by hand, since it was the cheapest) that the biologists could bring with them into the field and reflect on, in situ, during down time. My thought was that this could be additionally inspirational, but it also posed extra challenges. The booklets would need to be tough to survive in a field biologist’s backpack, and also not be too heavy.
This lead to my design of 1/4 page sized booklets, printed off our common GT printer (double sided), which I then sewed together for durability (and because the staplers were too short and the staples fell out too easily).