Stephen Mowat, Alasdair Davies, and Jon Fidler are the team behind the Naturebytes project, a Raspberry Pi-powered wildlife camera they hope will help inspire a community of digital makers monitor wildlife activity.
Mowat, a Conservation Ecologist and member of the Zoological Society of London, focuses on using new technologies to understand the ecology and behavior of key species.
The three Londoners say they see Naturebytes as an open, hackable device which will help wildlife fans, photography enthusiasts, digital makers, engineers, and teachers/educators develop skills in computing, coding, and 3D design and printing, But more than that, they say they wanted to create a fun and purposeful activity to reconnect people with nature.
“We take cool technology and combine it with the fascination of wildlife to inspire everyone to learn new skills and engage in purposeful community activities,” they say. “We show people how technology and wildlife are good for one another, not enemies.”
At the center of the project is the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit, a camera they say lets anyone capture stealthy, high-definition images of even the most elusive wildlife.
The Naturebytes team say they want the portal which is part of the project to provide an opportunity for users to share their data with scientists and conservationists to better understand and protect wildlife. They say the online sharing platform includes viewing and analysis of photo data, a feature to set up “citizen science challenges” and surveys for members and tools to allow users to communicate with wildlife scientists.
The design files for the Wildlife Cam Kit are open source and available for users to re-engineer, design, hack, and adapt them for their preferences. The various elements of the Maker Pack and a customizable bird feeder comes with the electronics and design files necessary to hack, design, and share modifications with the Naturebytes community.
To raise the funds necessary to create an aluminum tool they need to mass produce the Wildlife Cam Kit case, and cover the three months needed to develop, test, and complete the process involved, Naturebytes is running a Kickstarter campaign.
A pledge of £85 (about $134) yields a Wildlife Cam Kit Lite without the Raspberry Pi, and the kit contains a Pi Cam, the weatherproof housing, an insert for a model A+ Raspberry Pi, the necessary screws, inserts and nuts, a LiPo battery, an Adafruit Powerboost and LiPo charger. a USB power and charging cable, a real time clock and an SD card. For a £95 pledge, you get all that and the Raspberry Pi, too.
The campaign runs through July 25th, seeking to raise a total of £28,995.
Will you support the Naturebytes project to roll out the Wildlife Cam Kit on Kickstarter? Let us know in the Naturebytes Camera Kit forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Naturebytes Kickstarter campaign video below.