Camera traps are a super useful tool for field biologists and conservationists! They let us record animals without the presence of humans being in the way! You have probably seen their use on shows like Planet Earth to capture gorgeous footage of super rare leopards and such! They are also invaluable for monitoring less rare species in many different other climates though too! (And also as secret traps to catch poachers!). Cameras traps have lots of limitations though. Narrow Field of views cause "placement bias" (e.g. https://www.wildlabs.net/community/thread/231 ) Commercially available cameras can be pretty pricey (We can make them cheaper!) Commercialy available ones are generally kinda bulky (and apparently elephants hate them! and try to break them!) - we can make them smaller ourselves! And commercially available 360 traps, use old tech for doing only horizontal scanning 360 and are still pricey! (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Wildgame-Innovations-360Deg... ) Getting 360 camera traps (especially ones we can make for cheaper than commercially available single lens ones) will let us more easily capture different types of creatures moving through the wilderness. Since we do not have to worry about pointing the camera in a "correct" direction, they will also let us capture different areas of the wilderness previously inaccessible (since we can just toss a camera on a rope up into the canopy for instance!).
360 cameras have drastically gone down in price over the past 2 years. You can now find cheap, weatherproof cameras that will capture full photospheres for under $50. We need a bit of dedicated research and development to look at several of these new cheap cameras (somewhat like what Andrew Thaler is doing with the super cheap 3D printers on the market). and find and document a systematic way to hack them, and turn them into robust 360 camera traps. We have already made completely function 360 camera traps (see the links and videos), and now just need to refine the process to make it easier for anyone to make their own device for under $100 bucks!
Greater camera imagery FOV will allow for more effective camera trapping
Finding cost-efficient, easily hackable commercially available 360 cameras (and figuring out which is best among the many options)
-Finding and evaluating commercially available 360 cameras -Evaluating their hackability -Selecting a key 360 camera as a basic one to develop with -Document basic methods to add sensors and arduino control
We have set up our our Science+Technology Field station in Gamboa, Panama, and mostly we just need some money to fund development time (other wise other projects are taking precedent to pay the mortgage). We already have most of the materials on hand to hack the cameras with. I estimate 50% of the costs will go to development time and 50% to low cost 360 cameras