MIT Media Lab research: Ecosystem Visualizations Driven by Real-Time, Sensor-Based Data

June 2016 - June 2017

MIT Media Lab Project: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/ecoflux/overview/

Thesis Paper Available Here: https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/113524

EcoFlux provides a new way for people to experience the inner working of ecosystems by using augmented or virtual reality to explore unseen ecological processes. This project used a human-centered design and development process to create a proof-of-concept technology that visualizes models of ecosystem processes using real-time, sensor-based data. 

EcoFlux builds on the existing MIT Media Lab project DoppelMarsh, is a virtual environment that changes in response to real-time environmental conditions captured by the distributed sensor network at the Tidmarsh wetland site. EcoFlux is the first of its kind to visualize models of molecular motion and carbon flow in 3D, within the context of the physical site, and driven by real-time data. 

Whether experienced remotely or integrated on site, EcoFlux can be used to inspire curiosity for visitors, enhance scientific understanding for researchers, and promote community development by demonstrating the value of ecological restoration. As environmental sensing becomes more ubiquitous in our daily lives, this thesis provides a foundation for making meaning from this wealth of information and harnessing human sensory systems to encourage new insights. 


 

Checking the sensor nodes embedded in the wetland in Plymouth, MA in partnership with the nonprofit Living Observatory

Checking the sensor nodes embedded in the wetland in Plymouth, MA in partnership with the nonprofit Living Observatory

The immersive experience of DoppelMarsh integrated with EcoFlux to demonstrate the unseen ecological processes like carbon flow that are integral to the health and restoration of an ecosystem.

The immersive experience of DoppelMarsh integrated with EcoFlux to demonstrate the unseen ecological processes like carbon flow that are integral to the health and restoration of an ecosystem.


EcoFlux at Different Times.png.1400x1400.png

Doppelmarsh digital landscape

Changes in photosynthesis visualized in DoppelMarsh given real-time ambient conditions. A high rate of photosynthesis given the temperature and time of day causes the carbon to flow toward the ground as the wetland acts as a carbon sink.


Models of Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration React to Ambient Conditions

Particles change speed, size, and color in response to carbon emissions based on temperature.

Carbon flow reacts to ambient temperature.jpeg

Sara Remsen_EcoFlux_High Temperature at Tidmarsh.png.1400x1400 (1).png
 

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