Tag Archives: Iain Kerr

REMINDER: SNOTBOT LIVE ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SUNDAY!

Iain writes, “Wednesday morning three Gloucester residents left for SE Alaska to conduct research on Humpback whales. Our work is going to be covered live Sunday the 9th. SnotBot is going to be featured in a National Geographic Live TV event called ‘Earth Live’ this Sunday July 9th 8:00 til 10:00 east coast time.

The Gloucester residents are: John Graham, Andy Rogan, and myself. The Paint Factory Robotics lab has been very busy with interns helping us prepare for this expedition. Interns are: Lydia Zuehsow, from Olin College of Engineering, Sam Vinson from Rockport, and Austin Monell from Gloucester all helping out.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/earth-live/videos/earth-live-extended-sneak-peek/

The show will be broadcast in 171 countries and 48 languages. It’s been an exciting year for Ocean Alliance and our Gloucester team, taking the story of innovation and persistence (a historic strength of Gloucester) around the world.”

 

TREMENDOUSLY EXCITING NEWS AND SAVE THE DATE: SNOTBOT ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE!!!

Iain Kerr writes, 
Hi Kim,

TREMENDOUSLY EXCITING NEWS: SNOTBOT GOES TO THE UN!!!

SnotBot (and the Kerr family) are heading to the UN as part World Ocean’s Day celebration. Amy writes, “Iain will be speaking to the UN General Assembly on Thursday about SnotBot for World Oceans Day, along with Sir Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sylvia Earle and James Cameron, with music by Daft Punk! We’re making a family trip of it, so Dylan and I will be going along. We’ll try to remember to bring a GMG sticker. “

 

SnotBot goes to the UN!

Gloucester’s own Ocean Alliance will be part of the World Oceans Day celebration on June 8 at the Great Hall of the United Nations in New York City. Ocean Alliance CEO Dr. Iain Kerr will speak about the role of innovation and technology in ocean conservation and will introduce delegates to Ocean Alliance’s innovative research drone, SnotBot. Dr. Kerr will be one of many ocean advocates, including philanthropist Richard Branson, director James Cameron, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who will be making presentations during the celebration along with a live feed from the International Space Station.

SnotBot is a customized drone that allows Ocean Alliance to collect behavioural and biological data (whale blow or snot) from whales noninvasively, without harming or disturbing the animals. Modified consumer drones have immense potential in marine mammal science and conservation, and Ocean Alliance’s SnotBot program has been at the very forefront of this new research paradigm, not only attaching petri dishes and sponges to drones to collect whale blow, but also attaching cameras and microphones to collect a broad spectrum of other valuable data.

 

The whale blow that SnotBot collects contains DNA, microbiomes, pregnancy hormones, stress hormones, and ketones. SnotBot’s video camera collects behavioural data and also provides stunning imagery.

For more information about the World Oceans Day program, Christina Caputo <christina@parley.tv

For more information about SnotBot and Ocean Alliance’s Drones for Whale Research program, visit http://www.whale.or/research/drones/ or call Dr Iain Kerr at 978-281-2814 x15 or email ikerr@whale.org.

Images courtesy Ocean Alliance website.

In the news: Congratulations Kurt Lichtenwald for leading Gloucester High School robotics and engineering program and students to another recognition–this one national! And those smart Monnells…

Well deserved. See wonderful story by Ray Lamont in today’s Gloucester Daily Times: GHS Engineering program wins national award, Photo by Mike Springer shows Kurt with students Austin Monnell and Conor Williamson.

NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION  

TEACHER EXCELLENCE AWARD 

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It’s close to Kurt’s 20th anniversary at Gloucester High School. Here’s a throwback photo I took in February 2012 at East Gloucester Elementary. Kurt brought the high school students in to the elementary school to lead science and robotic stations for all the kids. He told me then about his approach:

“For too long; students who could memorize facts were considered highly intelligent. In my classes students must learn to apply the knowledge and prove that they learned the topics. This is a different kind of intelligence (kinesthetic – hands on intelligence)  that for so long has gone unappreciated and unrecognized.  Mixing the two types of intelligences (multi level) in a class just makes common sense and great products (student work).”-Kurt Lichtenwald

 

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Global local: Adidas consults Ocean Alliance! Can New Balance be next?

From ocean trash to fashion smash.

Ocean Alliance CEO Ian Kerr writes: “I am working on a project with Adidas who are making shoes out of recycled plastic.  I am off to the Maldives Islands where we are intercepting plastic before it reaches the oceans (principally plastic bottles) with a team from Adidas. Ill be sending back posts to the Ocean Alliance website so please check it out.”

For more than four decades, Ocean Alliance has been a global leader dedicated to whale research and ocean health. In 2008 the organization moved its headquarters to one of Gloucester’s landmarks, the Paint Factory (built ca.1880s).  Ocean Alliance http://www.whale.org/

By 2017, Adidas will produce 1 million UltraBOOST sneakers with material made from trash grabbed from the ocean. “Meanwhile, soccer jerseys that use the plastic will be worn by the Real Madrid squad when it plays Real Sporting de Gijón later this month. Eric Liedtke, responsible for global brands at Adidas, claims that the jerseys will be the first to be made completely from materials found in oceans.” Read more Fortune magazine

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Ocean Alliance Gloucester MA helping Adidas Fortune magazine 

 

One hour at a time gang — imagine all those plastic bottle trash pick ups they’ve done! See Donna’s post for details about meeting at Dogtown this week.  Maybe New Balance is working on something similar and a Neptunes Harvest like model.

GMG 2013 post Charting the paths for plastic soup patches of our oceans 

 

AMAZING CAPTURE: SNOTBOT DRONE IMAGES OF THE RARE BLUE WHALE, THE LARGEST ANIMAL ON PLANET EARTH

Blue body 2 [2]Our friends at Ocean Alliance have just returned from the Sea of Cortez.  They took their drone SnotBot down there and successfully collected Snot from Blue, Grey and Humpback whales.  Here is an except form Iain Kerr’s most recent blog along with some photos of the largest animal that has even live on this planet… a blue whale.
After 10 minutes of high speed running the boat slowed down and we immediately launched a SnotBot. Within seconds we saw a blow, still a long way off.  Luckily the DJI Inspire 1’s top speed is close to 50 mph so I raced towards the whale and was soon close enough to see it though my FPV camera system…. and OMG – it was a blue whale!  I cannot describe my feelings as I approached this remarkable animal gliding through the water. After almost 30 years in this business and a British understated reputation to maintain, I have to admit that my hands started shaking and yes I made a mess of my first approach and did not get a blow sample.  I did not care though, the experience of flying SnotBot over the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet was an experience of a lifetime. To put this animal’s size into context: an adult blue whale’s tongue can weigh 6.5 tons; the heart is so big that a human adult could climb into one chamber.  Our blue whale was stunning in the crystal clear water, seeming to swim effortlessly.  After it dove I just left the drone hovering above its footprint and looked around at the rest of the team who were all ecstatic – last day on the water, beautiful weather and we were with a blue whale. I have only ever seen a blue whale once and when you look at the attached photo you realize that a drone’s eye view is incomparable; it’s the ultimate viewing experience. Look at its features, how the eyes protrude so that the animal can see forward; look at all of the different musculature and markings on the animal; just look at its amazing color.  So often with SnotBot we focus on the physical data we are collecting from the blow: DNA, micro biomes  pregnancy and stress hormones, but here we can see that even the photos and video that we take have enormous scientific, educational and emotional value.
You can read more about their work on their website:  http://www.whale.org/snotbot-sea-of-cortez-part-3-blue-whale/
IMG_6268 Iain Kerr and John Graham representing in the Sea of Cortez (Iain reports that Gloucester resident John is their resident McGyver, who can fix anything that goes wrong on a voyage)

Blue body & boat[2]Blue body short[2]Blue Snotted[2]

Only 3 days left to join Patrick Stewart (whose new show premieres tonight) in supporting Ocean Alliance’s Snotbot!

You’ve heard about SNOTBOT, right?  OK, maybe you’re just visiting, so you haven’t heard about this yet.  Let me explain: few other Kickstarter pledges could be better for the future of Gloucester (and anyone who lives or visits here) than this one — really, no kidding.  You’ll be helping Ocean Alliance develop revolutionary drone technology for whale research — and there’s no telling what they might discover.  But what ever it is, you’ll be a part of it along with iconic actor Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc Picard on “Star Trek”, with a new show called “Blunt Talk” premiering TONIGHT on Starz)!

This is good for Ocean Alliance (which translates good for Gloucester because we want them to thrive here), good for whales, good for our planet, and good for all of us who will benefit from whatever they discover using this new gizmo!  So pledge now right here.

Discovery Channel at Ocean Alliance


Ian Kerr Discovery Channel interview ©kim Smith 2014 copyIain Kerr Interview with Discovery

Sunday morning Discovery Channel News was at Ocean Alliance filming a story about SnotBot, the organization’s new drone. The drone was created by a group of Olin College of Engineering students, under the direction of Professor Drew Bennet, in the College’s robotics lab.

Drew Bennet Olin College studentys Snot Bot ©Kim Smith 2014. JPG

“SnotBot will be used to collect DNA, bacteria, viruses and stress hormones from whale blows. The team also tested SnotShot, a machine that makes a simulated whale blow (with the capacity to simulate different blow types) on demand—a testing tool that will actually help the scientists in the field collect a control sample.

Olin College students Snot Bot ©kim Smith 2014

The SnotBot drone works something like this: “as SnotBot flies out to a whale that is approximately 300m from the research vessel, it hovers over a whale and the whale repeatedly blows onto a collection device. After the sample is collected and brought back to the RV Odyssey, the data is used to help interpret an animal’s state of heath through the analysis of bacteria, viruses, DNA, and stress hormones recovered from the whale’s blow.”

Read More from the Olin College of Engineering Website Here

Snot Bot Ocean Alliance Archives Here

Captain Dominic ©Kim Smith 2014Gorgeous View from the Paint Factory of the Captain Dominic Fishing Boat

See More Photos Here

Read more

THEN and NOW–Paint Factory (A New Beginning)

A lot of people don’t realize there is an open courtyard space that runs between the brick and wooden buildings at the Paint Manufactory. (see post card image)

As part of the restoration process, one of the courtyard spaces is currently being cleaned up by Kerr and his crew.

A pretty spectacular space.

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Paint Factory Report From Iain Kerr

HI Joey,
I hope you are well, ready to warm up a bit.
I remain concerned that people think that nothing is happening at the Paint Manufactory.
From the attached materials, you can see that that is far from the truth:
Many people are not aware that considerable work has gone on at the Tarr and Wonson Paint manufactory over the winter season.  Most of this work has been environmental mitigation (site clean up).  We have removed, two concrete block buildings at the entrance to the site that each had 20,000 gallon oil and solvent tanks in them.  We have removed asbestos siding from the side of one building and the interior of another, 8 solvent and mixing tanks have been removed from the brick buildings along with the SUV sized oil fired furnace.  The most exciting and challenging work has been the removal of lead paint from the exterior of the brick buildings.  Scaffolding had to be erected around the buildings and then closed in with tarpaulins that were kept at negative pressure so that no lead paint dust could escape.  The attached time lapse video shows the tarpaulins coming down.  As you can see from the attached document, the ice blasting has exceeded our expectations, the brickwork looks almost polished.
Cheers, Iain

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Things To Do- The Cove Showing at Cape Ann Community Cinema To Benefit Ocean Alliance

From Iain Kerr-

We will be showing the movie ‘The Cove’ this weekend in Gloucester.

There will be two screenings of The Cove (to benefit the Ocean Alliance) this weekend at the Cape Ann Community Cinema, Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22, both at 2pm.  The Cape Ann Community Cinema is at 21 Main Street, upstairs from Mystery Train.  More information is attached.

I will introduce the film and answer questions on the film and if people are interested on the Paint Factory after the showings.

Hope to see you there.
Cheers
Iain