25 02 2008

Lars Kleivan works with locating whales and following them around out on the open seas. In fact he is the only one in Norway working with marking whales. He works in his own company towards the university in Bergen and currently is in collaboration with FFI, (forsvarets forsknings institutt), to work against whales and their life spandex.   




Seemingly the biggest problems in the business of tracking whales are the size if the batteries used for the transmitters and making the RFID tag stick to the whales for as long as possible without causing harm. Satellite tagging has been tried out for the last ten years, but problems have occurred with the tagging of the whales due to the bad range of GPS technology. But present, a man called Ed Bryant, are working on a system that might work.  Some of the main issues for wanting to track the whale’s life and movement are questions concerning their life and behaviour as very little data is collected in this field. Another issue is the low frequencies of new sounds being exposed in the sea by the army and their submarines.  – What happens to the whales when being exposed to low frequencies sound over a long period of time. Will their hearing be damaged, will they loose their ability to navigate and therefore strand?  To find the answers to these questions there are three key issues waiting to be solved, duration of tag, signals and reading. Apparently one needs about three months to have good satellite read of the tags. As the tags being very expensive, and still getting more expensive, this is a highly costly project and the methods must become more reliable.  So, these are the main issues of modern day research into whales. Especially military activity with submarines using sonar’s is being investigated. What about the oil companies using sonar’s to locate oil.  In the end, the main question is, HOW CAN WE GET THE TAGS TO SIT ON THE ANIMALS FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE?  

Clearly, the use of industrial designers can be used to work out these questions, however it seems a long way before any of the research institutes understand this. Lets hope the whales survive this waiting.. From a tangible interaction and ubiqutes computing view this is a highly interesting field involving both research and developing!




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