Proposing a nature-inspired solution to reduce the amount of SAR operations.
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Texas State University
Every year, thousands of search and rescue (SAR) operations are performed to locate and save lost or missing persons within our national parks. On average, Yosemite National Park’s SAR team responds to approximately 250 rescues per year. Nearly 70 percent of those rescues are to locate lost, missing, or injured hikers. The primary factors contributing to hikers becoming lost or reported as missing include losing the trail accidentally (and then being overcome by darkness), taking the wrong trail, and miscalculating the time or distance of the planned route. In addition, inadequate signage placement, poor typographic design, and lack of signage at decision points are among the many issues when analyzing the wayfinding throughout the park. The purpose of this project and study is to investigate Yosemite National Park’s hiking trail wayfinding system to design an improved solution in order to reduce the amount of SAR operations for lost or missing hikers.
research will examine trail wayfinding and trail navigation in order to
identify shortcomings with hiking trail wayfinding within our national parks.
On average, Yosemite has approximately 60,000 overnight hikers annually,
therefore, the research will include the impact darkness has on navigating
trails at night. The practice of biomimicry will be used to influence the
overall design outcome through the analysis of nature’s navigational processes
and bioluminescence. Multidisciplinary collaboration with the natural sciences
will be necessary in order to design a nature-inspired and sustainable
Yosemite National Park is an ideal research environment for this study because observational research has identified multiple areas for hiking wayfinding improvements. Yosemite is also one of the most visited national parks in the United States. The study will conclude with a proposed nature-inspired solution to reduce the amount of SAR operations for lost or missing hikers.
This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 6.2: CAA 2020 Conference Chicago on February 14, 2020.
Media Design Practices
Art Center College of Design
Media Design Practices
Art Center College of Design
Crime prediction technology – we have all seen it in the movies, but what has in the past been pure fiction is now quickly becoming a reality. Predpol, HunchLab and ComStat are different types of relatively new crime prediction software, or “predicative policing” software, that demonstrate how algorithms and other technologies can be used within urban infrastructures to predict crime. However, utilizing these technologies and algorithms to collect data to predict crime, which is invariably subject to and tainted by human perception and use, can lead to a number of adverse ethical consequences – such as the amplification of existing biases against certain types of individuals based on race, gender or otherwise. On the other hand, if data can be gathered by some artificial intelligence (AI) means – thereby removing the human component from such data collection, can doing so result in more efficient and accurate crime prediction? Furthermore, will we in doing so also reshape the aesthetic of urban landscapes, especially when one takes into account the constant evolution of AI?
Insectile Indices is therefore a speculative design project that considers how electronically augmented insects could be trained to act as sophisticated data sensors, working in groups, as part of a neighborhood crime predicative policing initiative in the city of Los Angeles, 2027. This project is not only an investigation into the ethics of this controversial idea, but an aesthetic exploration into the deliberate alteration to a natural wildlife ecosystem of insects and the potential reshaping of an urban landscape.
In 2007, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) asked American scientists to submit proposals to develop technology to create insect-cyborgs, the results of which led to a plethora of troubling and worrisome commentary. Rather than build off of a frightening narrative that discusses the potential sinister militaristic use of such technology, this project does the opposite and imagines instead an aesthetically pleasing utopia where these insect-cyborgs have social utility and work towards the public good of humanity. Insectile indices also plays with the idea of aesthetics in our future techno-driven world by addressing whether we are more apt to silently “turn the other cheek” to more pervasive surveillance if these insect-cyborgs, or the urban landscapes they have the potential to reshape, become more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
In this session, I plan to share the process of researching and creating the visual representation of this speculative fiction.
This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 4.2: CAA 2018 Conference Los Angeles on February 24, 2018.