First annual Nature!Tech Conference at Sonoma State University
“Every bit of data in the world is measurable”
– Sean Headrick of Aero Testra
This standout quote from Nature!Tech suited the tenor of the day which was all about leveraging technology and data to solve environmental problems.
Technology is fueling a revolution in environmental awareness and understanding. High tech innovators and ecological thought leaders gathered with faculty and students to explore new ways to address various problems plaguing nature, mankind and the planet.
Dr. Lynn Stauffer, Dean of Science and Technology introduced a line up of scientists and tech stars including:
Topher White of the Rainforest Connection who spoke about using old cell phones as protective sentinels stationed in jungle trees listening for the sound of chain saws… and then the phones summon the park rangers!
Jeff Kirschner of Litterati, a community that is crowdsource-cleaning the planet one piece of litter at a time and building a global database about litter to better limit and eliminate it. In just two years residents and travelers around the globe have enthusiastically posted to the Litterati website and Instagram images of litter from the four corners.
Scott Nowicki of Quantum Spatial amazed with LIDAR high definition, three dimensional imagery analysis.
Beth Rattner inspired us all with tales from Biomimicry Institute – Who knew that kingfisher’s beaks inspired improved aerodynamics in bullet trains?
SSU students presented Capstone projects and thesis featuring their amazing innovations. Amongst them:
An ingenious and simple robot made of Legos and other elements which can climb a rope and report information from the forest canopy, saving a lot energy by replacing cranes and dangerous high climbs.
A new generation of public space signs which signal the hearing impaired on their cellphones about current conditions and availability of facilities in public areas.
A student constructed electric car built as a class project with design input from other campus disciplines making for a sleek and desirable appearance.
Speaking of other disciplines, Sonoma State University is a front runner nationwide in the adoption of the STEM curriculum and also adds in Art to produce a job winning set of majors which are making Sonoma State graduates sought after in the employment market and which confirm the efforts of the whole SSU team and it’s groundbreaking Center for Environmental Inquiry which convened this conference.