Tag Archives: adventures

Waterspace: Floating Makerspace as Arts Ambassador Philippines

In the Spring of 2016, I served as the American Arts Ambassador with the US State Department and ZERO1. The goal is to launch projects that support environmental health via technological with the community in Dumaguete (a town on the Island of Negros in the Philippines).

There I headed up several initiatives and workshops targeting citizen science, environmental cleanup, interactive art, data visualization, and novel recycling methods. I also led the video and print documentation teams working to share these ideas. Overall, this massive project was a non-stop whirlwind of activity with dozens of core participants resulting in a mesh of cultural, technological, and environmental intersections.

This How-to article gives detailed description of the entire project, and how to build all the components of it yourself.  http://www.instructables.com/id/Bamboo-BOAT-Lab/

This photo-essay about the project also describes the project with several examples. If you want to be involved with the future of the BOAT Lab in Dumaguete, Philippines, contact the current project organizers at: https://www.facebook.com/WaterspaceIncubator/

More information at the American Arts Incubator official Site.
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Wearables in the Wild

The 2015 Wearables in the Wild Hiking Hack takes a crew of biologists, engineers, designers, and craftspersons into the Appalachian wilderness. Our mission, as with many of the hiking hacks, is to test out contextually creating tools for understanding living creatures in nature. Sponsored by the Georgia Tech Wearable Computing Center (http://wcc.gatech.edu/), an extra component of this investigation is how wearable devices can be built in the wild and to withstand the harshness of the wild.

Goals

Biology Target:  explore the Synchronous Fireflies that occur in June!

Technology Target:  Making Wearable devices for exploring the environment and interacting with animals.

Hiking Hack Target: developing and testing tools


 

Information

Field Notes: We will not have communication access where we are going. Thus we will document the trip when we come back, reliving the trip day-by-day and posting updates as if we were in the field. So stay tuned!

Safety: This is the first Hiking Hack where we will have to worry about bears! We will be needing to be setting up bear traps and all sorts of stuff, but should be all good!

To be extra safe, our emergency contact info is here: [We all made it back safe! contact info removed]

Location: This map also shows about where we will be: https://www.google.com/maps/place/35%C2%B023’14.2%22N+84%C2%B002’07.5%22W/@35.4031385,-84.0116501,12z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

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Wearables in the Wild - The 2015 Wearables in the Wild Hiking Hack takes a crew of biologists, engineers, designers, and craftspersons into the Appalachian wilderness. Our mission, as with many of the hiking hacks, is to test out contextually creating tools for understanding living creatures in nature. Sponsored by the Georgia Tech Wearable Computing Center (http://wcc.gatech.edu/), an extra component […]
Crew – Wearables in the Wild - The Wearables in the Wild 2015 expedition has attracted quite an amazing crew! We have a diverse background of ages, jobs, technological and biological experience.  Dozens of incredible researchers, designers, artists, adventurers and biologists, applied, but we were only able to accomodate 10 positions. The final selected participants originate from all around the world, and […]
It’s Over There – a box with a good sense of direction – Paul - I’ve been thinking about navigation in the wilderness and how digital media can support it. There are a couple of things that are particular to the type of navigation in the wilderness we’ll be doing  (foot travel in a place where routes aren’t necessarily defined and never square)  and some related work that might give […]
Ethogram Jam – Laura - Perhaps the only thing more interesting than the history of ethology itself, is the history of the crazy contraptions that have been designed to support such a science. The most temperamental, yet pervasive, of these tools is the ethogram device. Looking a bit like a bloated calculator, an ethogram is made up of rows of […]
Dirt on My Mind: Angela’s Initial Musings - Animals are sexy! We’re fascinated by them, fear them, watch viral videos of them, and feel a special rapport with them. Then there are plants, which help us breathe, feed us, shelter us, and provide satisfaction or awe when that prized orchid finally blooms. However, the biomass – all living things – in any given […]
Starting the Wearable Hiking Hack - This latest hiking hack is the most organized one to date. Lessons learned from the magnificent experiences in Panama and Madagascar left me prepared to tackle the many obstacles standing in the way of prototyping digital equipment in the wilderness. This is also the first funded hiking hack thanks to Georgia Tech’s wearable Computing Center […]
Preliminary Projects – Wearables in the Wild - During our initial workshops we brainstormed about different gear and superpowers we wanted to bring with us into the field. The targets were for digital, wearable devices that could help us explore the environment or interact with other living creatures. We batted around ideas covering a broad assortment of topics, and these then we loosely […]
Hanging the tarp Hanging Out – Laura’s Guide to Hammock Camping - The smallest things can make the biggest differences when you’re out in the field for long periods of time. After years of being a ground dweller in tents, I was ready to take to the trees and finally develop my hammock kit. Since I got confirmation that I’d be going on this trip, I’ve spent […]
Field Power - The first question we always get when talking about making electronics and computers in the wilderness is how to power all of our tools. During this trip we tested out numerous different ways of getting the electrical power our devices needed.   Needs From extremely rough estimates of previous hiking hacks, we came up with […]
Diving in Heavy: First Day Hiking - After the last day of the prelim workshops, there was still SOO much for me to do. I had to finish charging all of our batteries, finish up several projects, organize the last bits of electronics we needed to take, and prep the hacking laptop (hacktop). Just getting this laptop ready was a major time […]
Standing on the shoulders of giants – Jeannette, Andy - J- I loved my role as Master Blaster. At 5’, 96 lbs and agile, I could stand on the shoulders of Andy Q and reach heights that we could not have reached alone. We raised the tent of our workplace to unprecedented heights. A- Our formation as the amazing Master Blaster duo was an important […]
North Fork Citico Creek Digital Lab (NFCCDL) (Owl Camp) – Hugh - Building the infrastructure for North Fork Citico Creek Digital Lab (NFCCDL) (Owl Camp): From This:   to This:  First day out of Unicoi Gap (TN) opened with an easy (albeit pack-heavy) stroll down an old logging road, later turning steep, wet, and slippery. After a night sleeping in a trailside encampment and a shorter hike down […]
Where am I? You are here. – Paul - June 11th, 2015 The first day of hiking was easy, until it wasn’t. I had planned it to take two days of walking to get to the NFCCDL (Owl Camp), but the early part of the day had been so easy that we’d gotten optimistic that we could make it in one day of walking. […]
Portable Studio Design - Many of our initial thoughts for the design of a fully portable digital crafting studio have been loosely compiled in this, yet-unpublished, paper: Portable Studio Practice – Wear and Tear – Quitmeyer Perner-Wilson
Hydroelectric Power from Citico Creek - We tried to generate power from Citico Creek using a fire hose and some sort of generator. This was originally Scott Gilliland’s idea, and we volunteered to put this craziness to the test by carrying an extra compatible hose all the way down the mountain with us! We were trying to make it entirely gravity […]
The Most Useless Machine (Without an Arduino) – Paul, Hugh, Laura - The party boat activity prompt was just to take a bunch of outputs and link them together in a way that might stimulate some sort of organism. Basically, it’s just use a combination of natural and digital materials to make a thing that makes noises and flashes lights and things like that. While digging through […]
Setting up for Wildhacks – Andy - On the first day in basecamp, I sent the crew out on a “Smell Adventure.” The goal was to help them explore their environment in new ways by giving them the fun task of collecting as many unique smells from the nearby areas. While they were out, I started organizing and setting up electronics at […]
Leaf speaker A Day in the Basecamp Life – Laura - One of my favorite things about working in the field are the natural routines you fall into without even realizing. A typical day in basecamp commenced sometime between 7:30 and 8:30am. The ample tree cover and eponymous Smoky Mountain haze kept the sun’s heat and brightness from our site and let us wake slowly. Early […]
Reflection: It’s More Than Seeing Yourself in the Creek – Katelyn - There are specific tools used in back country living and digital making. When we combined these tool boxes into heavy backpacks to bring on our expedition, we brought the infrastructure to support the most critical tool, our minds. My daily life as a hiking hacker began with coffee at the creek side. A warm drink […]
Gimme shelter: Animal Homes in the Wild – Jeannette - This week, I left the hot sticky stoney enclave of urban/campus life at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and entered the cool dappled forest of Tennessee. I brought my own home with me: a hammock tent. Instead of carrying a support system, I used the structures in the forest, namely the trunks of rhododendron bushes. At […]
Etho-Smock In the Field – Laura, Katelyn, Paul - Challenge One of the most useful, yet also most potentially frustrating, tools for ethologists is the handheld ethogram device. This pocket computer has re-programmable buttons that allow a researcher to capture details of organismal behavior including action type, order, frequency and duration. The challenge in using a handheld ethogram is its un-intuitive interface. The design […]
The Night Crawler, he was called!! – Shiva - After a long day at the SCCDL (South Citico Creek Digital Laboratory :P) and a great Turkey Tetrazinni and Raspberry Crumble, we decided to take a stroll to observe some fireflies!!   We merely walked around a hundred yards from base camp. We used flashlights to reach the observation site. However, we had to stand or […]
Amazing Lifeforms at the NFCCDL (Owl Camp) – Angela - Maybe the mountains imprinted themselves in my dad’s DNA during his childhood in South Korea, and those highland genes are what always draw me to the spectacular sights and sounds of southern Appalachia. While camping in Joyce Kilmer National Forest, I was completely awed by all the life that was around us, and the cool, […]
Backpack design: Projection system as part of the function of backpack. -Jeannette - Jeannette Yen- Scientists often rationalize that our advancement of knowledge is equal to the costs of the lives of living organisms. It isn’t. I took disdain at this idea. Instead, with the advances in modern high image resolution in time and space of the digital age, we now can produce large magnified images that are […]
BOB SOS: Back off bear alert – Jeannette, Hugh - Context: First, a report that a young boy was lacerated by a bear in a forest near us and a suggestion that we build a bear detector. A week before, JY learned how to solder and program an arduino to make an LED blink like one of the firefly species. A day before, she got […]
The Succession of Trees – Hugh - The Succession of Trees   The Tennessee/North Carolina Appalachians are renowned for their diverse tree population, and our trek took us from 4470 feet at Unicoi Gap to the Citico Creek Campground #14 elevation of 1720, providing an altitude-inflected arboretum. Different areas were logged off over the years, so at the higher elevations most were […]
PhotoSphere – Matt - Part of the experience of hiking in the wild is the dramatic flow of changes in light as you move through the forest. To capture part of this experience we created a cap with photo sensors on it to record the changes in light patterns as we walk. The cap was made before we left […]
Cheap Portable Laptop Power – Matt, Andy - Matt Swarts and Andy Quitmeyer came up with a way to cheaply power laptops and other high-voltage devices off cheap powerpacks! Difficulty: Medium-easy. We cha The Problem Laptops demand lots of power. They also usually need to charge from voltage source that is much higher than the 5 volts you can get out of cheap […]
Schedule / Emergent Syllabus: Wearables in the Wild - Days i and ii: Pre-workshops First Day Brainstorming wearable technology ideas Building two select items Second Day Finishing wearable technologies for field use Sorting gear Sorting food Packing Prepping hack computer with drivers and libraries Day 1: Hike In Challenge Find an interesting organism while we hiked Activities Hiking Set up mini-camp Reflection ·         Evening […]
Wildhacking Basecamp Tour - Come along with us and see the amazing studio we set up entirely in the wilderness!
Bug Buddies – Angela - My original idea  the hiking hack was a very practical, very serious soil testing shoe attachment, but my brain took a direction 180° from my initial thoughts – finger puppets! What could be more practical and serious than finger puppets, right? Although finger puppets may not seem utilitarian, potentially they can serve an educational purpose, […]

Hacking the Wild: Madagascar

As part of the series of Hiking Hackathons, we launched an expedition to Madagascar in February 2015.

Brian Fisher, head entomologist at the Cal Academy of Sciences, Hannah Perner-Wilson, digital craft designer at Kobakant, and Andrew Quitmeyer, PhD student in Digital Naturalism, traveled to south Madagascar’s Anoyasan Mountain range to explore three main goals:

  • Discover a, yet unclassified, ant found by the 1971 French expedition on the summit of an unnamed mountain
  • Test new methodologies for crafting digital devices in harsh, rainforest conditions
  • Explore ways of documenting and sharing science and design research from the field

P1020404

Unlimited SD Card Backup in the Field Hack - Unlimited Backup of Camera Media!
Hacking the Wild: Madagascar 2015 Book - 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 […]
Fiber Optic Jungle Insect Traffic Taster - New sensing project inspired and created in the wild! Winner of two first-place design awards!

Gamboa 2014 Thesis Field Season


Having successfully defended my Proposal in February 2014, I am conducting my final field season for my PhD. This is the longest field season where I will be down in Panama for a full 3 months to test out and evaluate the Digital Media theories I have developed over the years of my research.

This year I will have three main projects, designing an ant sensor, hosting a hiking hackathon, and filming a music video for my dissertation:

Transcontinental Hiking/Hack - From June 26th to July 5th, I have organized an expedition across Panama. The main goal is to design digital-biological field technology entirely in situ. The context in which a technology is made drives its design. Conventional development of digital technologies, however, typically occurs in climate controlled laboratory surroundings, and not the harsh environments of many […]
Dissertation Music Video - One of the main Side projects for my 2014 tenure in the rainforest will be to shoot a music video which somehow shares the thesis of my PhD research. I was enthralled when I first started my PhD three years ago and Dr. Becky Arundale pointed me to the “Dance Your PhD project.” I knew […]
Arboreal Ant Sensor: Main Project Summer 2014 - Background: Funding After a couple years of trying to pitch lofty, abstract concepts for funding from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, I changed up my strategy with great success! I went from rejected proposals such as “Give me money so we can do large scale exploratory performances with crazy technology in the jungle so that […]

Here are my journal entries for the season:

Balboa to Camino De Cruces (Hiking Hack Day 1 Part 1) - Stuff did not come together until the absolute last minute. Up until 4am packing, waking others up at 5am to load equipment into Mani’s van. We sorted the food at 9pm last night, but forgot to load any of the stuff that was in the fridge. Before the van rolled off I had to run […]
Baggage Issues - Since this is my first time out of the country (Canada doesn’t count), and my first time doing any sort of backpacking sort of adventure thing like this, Andy asked me to write a “very short” piece on the process of getting my shit together for the trip. Hahahaha. Leaving aside my 6 vaccinations, and […]
Savage Dogs versus the Jungle - This weekend Gamboa hosts some sort of national ultimate Frisbee tournament. I’ve been told that teams come from all over the country for some reason to play out here in the middle of nowhere.   Peter had told me stories of this tournment from the past two years, but I had been out of town […]
Comfort and Labelblitz -     Like most aspects of this year’s field mission, one of the strangest continual feelings I have is that of comfort. The previous two years kept me in a mad daze struggling to bounce around scientists and sneak space for myself to setup places for electronics and coding. Now I feel like all these […]
Discovery Center Run - Peter and I found the fabled Discovery Center late last year when we went to pick up tools for his experiments and supplies for giant ant puppets in our performance last year.  The store is, more or less, a combination Target / Lowes with a couple of aisles of just strangeness. It was amazing to […]
Transcontinental Hiking/Hack - From June 26th to July 5th, I have organized an expedition across Panama. The main goal is to design digital-biological field technology entirely in situ. The context in which a technology is made drives its design. Conventional development of digital technologies, however, typically occurs in climate controlled laboratory surroundings, and not the harsh environments of many […]
Dissertation Music Video - One of the main Side projects for my 2014 tenure in the rainforest will be to shoot a music video which somehow shares the thesis of my PhD research. I was enthralled when I first started my PhD three years ago and Dr. Becky Arundale pointed me to the “Dance Your PhD project.” I knew […]
Gamboa 2014 Thesis Field Season - Having successfully defended my Proposal in February 2014, I am conducting my final field season for my PhD. This is the longest field season where I will be down in Panama for a full 3 months to test out and evaluate the Digital Media theories I have developed over the years of my research. This […]
Arboreal Ant Sensor: Main Project Summer 2014 - Background: Funding After a couple years of trying to pitch lofty, abstract concepts for funding from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, I changed up my strategy with great success! I went from rejected proposals such as “Give me money so we can do large scale exploratory performances with crazy technology in the jungle so that […]
Transcontinental Hiking / Hack Announcement - We are recruiting field biologists for the upcoming Transcontinental Hiking / Hack. This will be a 9 day hiking workshop through the Panamanian forest going from the Atlantic to the Pacific taking place from June 26-July 5 2014. The primary goals of the project are to: Design technology for studying animal behavior in situ. Conduct […]

Gamboa Field Experimentation 2013

In the summer of 2013, I am embarking on an exploratory mission to test out some of the techniques and performances I have been reading and theorizing about over the past year.

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Gamboa Assay 2012

In 2012, I went down to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to collect research video of social animals behaving in their natural environs. I also took this opportunity to beging some of my earliest research in “Digital Naturalism.” I kept a journal holistically describing my encounters with the wonderful wildlife and people there!

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