Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are endangered in certain areas and heavily affected by stressors such as noise, ship collisions and overfishing. They are crucial to the ocean as they transfer nutrients to the surface and support hundreds of microorganisms. Current biotags passively gather ocean data to map the behaviour of whales.
The new biotag is attached to the whale, just like current data-logging tags, but it does more than just measuring data on noise, depth and position. With its integrated underwater speaker the tag can actively communicate with the whale through sound. It can then inform the whale on positions of nearby ships and how the whale can avoid them and strategically place its nutrients to create new habitats outside shipping routes.
Augmented Nature is a graduate project by designers and engineers at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.
With a combined interest in finding an alternative to human centered design, Eirini Malliaraki, Duncan Carter, Mick Geerits and Arthur Gouillart propose an animal centered design approach. An approach in which success is measured in biodiversity and humans acknowledge that they’re part of the animal kingdom.