Enrichment is a methodology for caregivers to offer zoo animals improved psychological and physiological well-being. Although many species rely on auditory senses, sonic enrichment is rarely implemented. Zoo soundscapes are dominated by human-generated noises and do not respond meaningfully to animals' behavior. Designing interactive sonic enrichment systems for animals presents unique ergonomic, ethical, and agency-related challenges. We present a case study of such design. We deployed two novel interventions at the San Diego Zoo to allow Sampson, a music-savvy hyacinth macaw, to gain control over his sonic environment. Our results suggest that (1) the bird uses, understands, and benefits from the system, and (2) visitors play a major role in Sampson's engagement with this technology. With his new agency, the bird seemingly gains more control over his interactions with the public, creating an interspecies experience mediated by technology. The resulting animal-human-computer interaction may inform mediated interspecies experiences in the future.
Assistance dogs are a key intervention to support the autonomy of people with tetraplegia. Previous research on assistive technologies have investigated ways to, ultimately, replace their labour using technology, for instance through the design of smart home environments. However, both the disability studies literature and our interviews suggest there is an immediate need to support these relationships, both in terms of training and bonding. Through a case study of an accessible dog treats dispenser, we investigate a technological intervention responding to these needs, detailing an appropriate design methodology and contributing insights into user requirements and preferences.
The ScanAllFish project is a large-scale effort to scan all the world's 33,100 known species of fishes. It has already generated thousands of volumetric CT scans of fish species which are available on open access platforms such as the Open Science Framework. To achieve a scanning rate required for a project of this magnitude, many specimens are grouped together into a single tube and scanned all at once. The resulting data contain many fish which are often bent and twisted to fit into the scanner. Our system, Unwind, is a novel interactive visualization and processing tool which extracts, unbends, and untwists volumetric images of fish with minimal user interaction. Our approach enables scientists to interactively unwarp these volumes to remove the undesired torque and bending using a piecewise-linear skeleton extracted by averaging isosurfaces of a harmonic function connecting the head and tail of each fish. The result is a volumetric dataset of a individual, straight fish in a canonical pose defined by the marine biologist expert user. We have developed Unwind in collaboration with a team of marine biologists: Our system has been deployed in their labs, and is presently being used for dataset construction, biomechanical analysis, and the generation of figures for scientific publication.
This paper investigates connecting people in remote communities through nature in order to foster stewardship and conservation of endangered species. Global citizen science technologies have found success in urban, developed countries, but they typically rely on large distributed populations to gather or analyze data and do not suit sparsely populated and remote contexts. We undertook a long-term field study to iteratively co-design a tangible and playful nature engagement prototype in a remote World Heritage Area community. The prototype design fosters learning through ambient sounds as well as exploration and discovery of species through nature soundscape recordings. We found that the prototypes amplified locals' interest, became embedded in community relations and gradually led to placemaking of new engagement 'spaces' and of newer forms. We contribute lessons learned on how design can foster nature engagement and stewardship of endangered species by heeding Suchman's call for design to "enter networks of relations that make technology possible". We contribute design implications and new design foci HCI/Citizen science engagement for species conservation.