Networked Robotic Cameras for Collaborative Observation of Natural Environments

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Abstract

Scientific study of animals in situ requires vigilant observation of detailed animal behavior over weeks or months. When animals live in remote and/or inhospitable locations, observation can be an arduous, expensive, dangerous, and lonely experience for scientists. Emerging advances in robot cameras, long-range wireless networking, and distributed sensors make feasible a new class of portable robotic “observatories” that can allow groups of scientists, via the internet, to remotely observe, record, and index detailed animal activity. As a shorthand for such an instrument, we propose the acronym CONE: Collaborative Observatory for Natural Environments.