Close

Search

Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Buyers' Guide Photonics EDU Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics EuroPhotonics Industrial Photonics Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook
More News
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
2016 Photonics Buyers' Guide Clearance! – Use Coupon Code FC16 to save 60%!
share
Email Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Comments

Birds 'Captured' Going Wild in Craig's Backyard

Photonics.com
Apr 2007
BERKELEY, Calif., April 24, 2007 -- Craig Newmark, founder of the popular craigslist community Web sites, is hosting a robotic video camera project from the back deck of his home, which overlooks Sutro Forest in San Francisco. The new online game, launched this week at http://cone.berkeley.edu, allows players to access a remotely controllable robotic video camera to take live photos of and classify visiting wild birds.
birdwatch.jpg
Inset from the CONE Sutro Forest interface, an online game that allows players to control the movements of a remote camera. Players earn points by snapping photos of birds and identifying them. The game, at http://cone.berkeley.edu, is free and open to the public. (Photo courtesy of Ken Goldberg)
The technology behind the game, called Collaborative Observatories for Natural Environments-Sutro Forest (CONE Sutro Forest), was conceived by Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor of engineering and coprincipal investigator of the project, and Dezhen Song, assistant professor of computer science at Texas A&M. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Goldberg, Song and their students have been working for several years on systems that allow "collaborative control" of a camera's movements by multiple users over the Internet.

"CONE Sutro Forest uses a collaborative control interface that allows dozens of people to simultaneously share remote control of the pan-tilt-zoom video camera," said Goldberg. "It introduces highly responsive algorithms that automatically compute the optimal camera viewpoint to satisfy dozens of simultaneous players, including experts and amateurs. We've also included a new relay server to make the video stream faster and more responsive, a database of images and biological information about the wild birds likely to be spotted in the Sutro Forest, and a scoring system that rewards users who find and identify unusual birds."

birdwatch2.jpg
CONE Sutro Forest screen-capture image. At left is a dark-eyed junco. The bird on the right is either a house sparrow or a chestnut-backed chickadee, "but it is hard to say for sure without seeing its front," said craigslist founder Craig Newmark, the birds' host.
For instance, using a computer mouse, a registered user of the Web site may direct the camera to point at a jay and snap a photo. However, if most other players direct the camera elsewhere, the system will favor the popular choice. Players can see who else is logged on and try to beat them to the best pictures. The system waits until the photo is classified consistently by at least two players and assigns points according to how rare the bird is. Players with higher scores get more influence over where the video camera is positioned.

The researchers said they hope the project will attract a variety of players, including video gamers who have never tried birdwatching and seasoned birdwatchers, and that it will increase public awareness of how technology can help natural observation.

Newmark added, "It's also fun to see an educational game based on what's happening outside my window."

For more information, visit: cone.berkeley.edu


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
Comments
Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy About Us Contact Us
back to top

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2016 Photonics Media
x We deliver – right to your inbox. Subscribe FREE to our newsletters.