HoloLens comes to the Economo Unit

How would you like to be in the same room as an ant the size of a horse? In reality that’s a ridiculous idea, but in augmented reality anything is possible. This week, OIST’s Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit tested a new augmented reality device: the Microsoft HoloLens. Pavel Puchenkov of OIST’s Scientific Computing & Data Analysis Section designed a demonstration using a 3D-scanned model of the newly discovered ant species, Pheidole drogon. With the HoloLens, researchers were able to explore this species’ exceptionally spiny shape.

The view from the HoloLens. Paco Hita Garcia and Sam Ross can’t
actually see the ant, but it all looks very dramatic

While the applications available for the HoloLens are currently limited, the opportunities quickly become apparent. The ability to display holographic renderings of specimens in 3D has the potential to turn any room into a stunning museum exhibit. It’s clear that this technology has the potential to create or enrich experiences that we can use to communicate life’s diversity and evolutionary history.

Ph.D. Student Yuka Suzuki interacting with objects in augmented reality.

Post written by Nicholas Friedman

New publication by the antmaps team!


The design and implementation of antmaps.org was described in a paper (Visualizing and interacting with large-volume biodiversity data using client–server web-mapping applications: The design and implementation of antmaps.org) that was published this week in Ecological Informatics. It describes the trend of the increasingly frequent use of web and database technologies within the biological fields, it uses antmaps.org as a case study to propose a web-mapping framework for visualizing large-volume biodiversity data, it describes the key design ideas (cartographic design and user-centered design) behind the application and it details the evaluation of the application to assure the usability of the interface.

Click on this link to read the full paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2016.02.006



Introducing AntMaps.org!

After months of development by Evan, Julia Janicki, Benoit Guenard, Nitish Narula, and Matt Ziegler, we are very pleased to introduce AntMaps.orgScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 3.50.19 PM! AntMaps is an interactive web framework for mapping ant species ranges and aggregate biodiversity patterns. In particular, AntMaps is built to visualize and interact with the GABI database, currently consisting 1.6 million records of ant data. GABI is, to our knowledge, the first comprehensive global biodiversity dataset for any insect group. We hope that by providing a gateway to GABI, AntMaps will be an efficient and useful tool for amateur and professional myrmecologists, and also help us root out problems with the database. We’d love to hear your feedback.