My Naturewatch: DIY wildlife cameras aimed at getting people engaged in nature and to document local wildlife

My Naturewatch camera – a DIY wildlife camera that anybody can make at home from everyday items and simple technology is encouraging people to get in touch with nature and document their neighbourhood’s wildlife.

A team from the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Design Products at the Royal College of Art designed the devices, which cost around £30 to make.

The My Naturewatch cameras use computer vision to sense motion and capture images of wildlife, much like camera traps used by conservationists and filmmakers. The cameras automatically capture images when they spot animals such as birds, foxes, squirrels and mice. People can view the images and control the camera from the comfort of their homes by connecting to a Wi-Fi network set up by the cameras.

Easy-to-follow instructions for making the My Naturewatch cameras are available on the project website, along with free software and tips on housing the cameras in food storage containers, old plastic bottles or other household items.

Andy Boucher, My Naturewatch team member and co-director of the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, said: “We hope that My Naturewatch will inspire people of all ages to engage with the wildlife around them by building these devices – which also help people learn about technology – and look forward to seeing the images and clips people share with the community.”

The My Naturewatch design team recently created a series of habitats that use hidden cameras to capture images of wildlife, using a combination of materials found in nature such as branches, coconut shells and stones, and recycled materials such as pieces of plastic bottles that are used to create a waterproof cover around the camera lens.

The sustainable animal shelters, known as Nature Scenes, were exhibited as part of the London Design Festival in September. These habitats provide various wildlife – including birds, small mammals and insects – with shelters, feeding stations and water points.

Nature Scenes aims to inspire others to build their own animal shelters using recycled or natural materials as well as the My Naturewatch cameras.

My Naturewatch

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

 

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