Created at CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design) | Interaction Design Program 2020
Course: Design and Ethics
Team: Ana Acevedo | Christoff Trexler | Martin Altanie | Norris Hung | Sammy Creeger
Tools: Care Ethic lens
Today, animal tracking technology plays a huge role in saving endangered species as well as helping us learn about different ecosystems. However, often these trackers comes at the expense of the animal’s well-being. Tracking devices often can impede mobility, cause stress, and require traumatic capture/release methods.
Treen is a redesign of animal trackers with a focus on care ethics ideals. Rather than asking “What is just?”, care ethics asks “How to respond?”. This emphasis on responding helps people take good choices and achieve a way of living deepened by our care towards each other.
Treen works by having nano-sensors embedded in the seeds of plants different animals eat. The seeds are planted and allowed to grow. Animals come along and eat the plants along with the nano-sensors that grew with it. The nano-sensors log data and transmit back to the scientist. There is minimal involvement and handling of the animal from scientists and Treen is not as invasive as wearable collars or bulky sensor systems. Because the sensors are ingested, Treen can be placed without the use of sedatives or traps.
While Treen addresses some of the current concerns around animal trackers, the idea behind this speculative design project is less about the actual solution but the culture of how we approach design in the first place. Through the lens of care ethics, it is important to actively and continually consider how products affect the well-being of all living beings.
When brainstorming for the storytelling style of the concept video, the team was discussing on what is the most current and impactful way of communicating the message. While looking at trends on modern societies obsessions with influencer culture, the team decided on creating a fake influencer persona, Cassie from the Lab Cats. Cassie is a young scientist that does reviews on the most current environmentaly sustainable tech. Naturally, Cassie did a review on a newly released biologging sensor, questioning how the product would benefit all the stakeholders in the ecosystem.