View the Project on GitHub svonhauske/Interaction-Design-in-The-Wild

31 March 2019

Final Project Ideas

by Sofia von Hauske Valtierra

Idea I: Preybot

My first idea is to further develop the preybot prototype. The preybot was one of two feeding enrichment ideas that were inspired by how foxes hunt and the type of prey they hunt. The preybot prototype is a machine that lowers food to the ground for foxes to be attracted to it, but it rapidly pulls it up if a motion sensor is able to sense the fox as it approaches the food. This happens like that because it is trying to mimic the fleeing upward behavior of a fox’s arboreal prey. These type of prey consists of birds and tree squirrels, which have high visual acuity. This is why the fox has to approach them very stealthily or they fly or run up where the fox can’t reach them. When hunting this type of prey, foxes stalk their prey in a deeply crouched posture and then try to catch the animal in a dashing run.

To take this from prototype to final, there are several things that need to change:


Bodystorming Video

Idea II: Empathy Machine

My second idea is to further develop my empathy machine concept. This machine was about creating empathy for animals that are affected by noise pollution. What is noise pollution? Noise is an unwanted or inappropriate sound. Noise pollution is noise that interferes with normal activities and disrupts or diminishes our quality of life. We do not realize the impact that man-made noise has on nature, but it is pretty big.


I decided to focus on an animal characteristic that is actually an advantage that they have over humans, but in this human-centered world, it has become a disadvantage. It is also something we often overlook or take for granted when we are thinking about hearing; the pinnae. What is Pinnae? Pinnae are the external parts of the ears in humans and other mammals.


Some animals can swivel or rotate their pinnae in order to pinpoint where sounds are coming from. For predators, it is helpful while hunting, to find their prey, and for the animals being hunted, it helps them avoid predators.

Things that need to change:



Empathy Machine Video

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Idea III:

For my third idea, I want to design a machine that is inspired by the way in which foxes hunt insects. Insects have weak escape behaviors, and they only provide the fox with a small amount of food. When insects hop or fly away, foxes use their muzzle to poke around, or they do something called foot stamping. The foot stomping causes insects to move, and then the fox is able to locate them by the sound of rustling or movement.

The idea I have in mind is a movable device that can be placed anywhere in the zoo, hidden amongst plants or grass. It will play a low-frequency sound, the same sound an insect would make, to try to attract the foxes. If the fox stamps close enough to the device, it will shoot a treat up, like a scared butterfly that is trying to escape.

The idea with this device is to have foxes use their hearing to locate the machine and then have them try to hunt it as an insect so they can receive a small treat. The fact that is movable add variability because it won’t be fixed in the same place every time, so the fox will not memorize where it is.

This will require a speaker to be able to play the low-frequency sound. Since zoos are noisy, a proximity sensor makes more sense than a sound sensor to be able to detect how close the stamping occurs to the machine. Lastly, a small servo motor can be used to catapult the treat up. There has to be a container that can keep several treats inside, so it doesn’t require reloading every time it is used.


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