Posted by: Mr. Austin | February 11, 2014

Internet Rover and Game Demos Rock TEDxBerkeley

Shields faces the rover, both on all fours.

Shields faces the rover, both on all fours.

This Saturday past, Tim Shields of Hardshell Labs™ premiered his new talk, “Playing for Keeps,” at TEDxBerkeley’s 2014 event, “Rethink. Redfine. Recreate.” Shown are two photos taken by TEDxBerkeley’s volunteer photographers. The vid of Shields’ talk will be released within a few weeks with the presentations of the other 19 TEDxBerkeley speakers.

Central to Shields presentation was his idea that in order to save Earth and its irreplaceable life, conservation must be made into fun. He discussed his experiences of 35 years as a desert field biologist, his first-hand encounters with endangered species including the California desert tortoise, mentioned the formation of his new conservation technology company, Hardshell Labs and its Hardshell Games, and debuted his concepts about Crowd Sourced Conservation™.

A robot rover, controlled remotely over the Internet by the team of Chris Smith, Roy A. Haggard and Eli White was demonstrated on stage as a proof of concept for use in remote field work and conservation video games. Using Haggard’s iPhone as a remote video camera, Haggard and Smith designed a telephone interface they mounted in the rover.

The rover used on stage was a second iteration of a first one, design and construction of which was directed by Mark Fontenot and his students in his Fall 2013 Haines High School class from Alaska. Fontenot’s team included White. The team’s rover is discussed and shown at Trillium Learning’s America Bridge Website, and was christened the Leafcutter Ant.

Shields’ TEDxBerkeley audience also participated in a rousing, two-minute mobile game demonstration of a Crowd Sourced Conservation™ game for iOS and Android, titled, “Raven Repel.” The game demonstration was designed and released by Arshad Tayyeb and Jason LeBrun in under five weeks.

Shields received a standing ovation after his 18-minute presentation. Twitterite Kara DeFrias commanded via her @CaliforniaKara feed, Tim Shields on internet-enabled, #gamification, crowdsourced conservation. Must-see talk from #TEDxBerkeley.” Facebooker and TEDxBerkeley audience member Michele Swanston was effusive about Raven Repel: “I absolutely love the app! Played all day on and off with my 10 year old. The whole time she shared with people saying, “we’re saving baby tortoises.’ Fantastic!”

Thanking the members of his team who helped propel him toward the TEDxBerkeley stage, Shields acknowledged their invaluable contributions in writing: “Even the words from my mouth and my actions onstage were the result of countless suggestions from you… You were talking through me- one voice but many minds. I want all of you to know that I will not forget… your contributions. This is an example, in miniature, of crowd sourcing, of tapping different pools of talent and experience for a common goal.”

TEDxBerkeley has its facebook page here. Links to Shields’ TEDxBerkeley presentation will be posted on Blue Planet Almanac, and its subscribers will receive a notice when its published.

Shields: "I began to see all living things as my family."

Shields: “I began to see all living things as my family.”


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