The 2018 projects of the Hydrous include Digitizing Museum Specimens, Ocean Education Kits for Youth, and Virtual Reality.
The Hydrous is actively looking for partnerships, donations, and funding opportunities to expand and distribute these projects.
Digitizing Corals from the Smithsonian Collection
The Hydrous has been collaborating with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Digitization Program Office to digitize specimens from the Smithsonian’s collection. The purpose of this project is to make ecosystems and the collection more available to the public. Here is a sneak peak at the first 3D coral model to help celebrate International Year of the Reef. A large group of additional models will be released later this year.
Virtual Reality/ 360 Film
The Hydrous is creating an immersive film to share coral reef environments using frontier technologies. This project is designed to generate awareness, scientific understanding, and empowerment to protect these beautiful and threatened places. We plan to share it at film festivals, on online platforms, and through Hydrous educational programs.
Hydrous Ocean Education Kits
The Hydrous is producing a range of experiences for young people to engage with and learn about coral reef ecosystems - their magnificence, importance to the planet, and their current and immediate challenges. This educational toolbox/kit, currently under active development through a grant from the National Geographic Society, will include a range of Hydrous produced materials. Hydrous photospheres and 360º video will put learners into the center of a coral reef, seen with a Google Cardboard-like viewer. The Kit will also include 3D prints/models of a set of coral reef specimens that the Hydrous has assembled using photogrammetry techniques on expeditions across the globe. These annotated models, as well as other models and materials, will provide the basis for learner explorations of the science of coral reefs through hands-on investigations.
After viewing a healthy reef and an unhealthy one (a bleached reef), learners will “dive into” a range of activities exploring the differences between these, as well as establishing a basic understanding of the complex and fascinating composition of coral reef ecosystems. For example, learners will investigate the importance of water temperature on coral health with a set of Hydrous coral models that change color at certain temperatures (see image above). They will also similarly explore other factors critical to predicting coral health (depth, geography, morphology, human disturbances) of these coral specimens.
Techniques for active investigation by the learners will include the design and creation of experiments, graphing and mapping findings, research, and analysis - all methods that scientists are using in their investigations of coral reefs. Learners will also actively explore new visualization technologies, including 3D printing, photogrammetry, photospheres, and virtual reality.