Gonzalo Martinez and myself (Shaan Hurley) are currently in the extremely remote Turkana Basin of Kenya where many of the hominin fossils (our human ancestors) were found along with a great deal of other fossils and tools. We are researching aerial video and photo capture with Louise Leakey using a state of the art eight bladed remote copter mounted with lots of high tech equipment and cameras that we have named the Autodesk Octo-Copter for many exciting potential uses.
We hiked with all our copter and camera equipment to the Logatham Circle and Pillar site located to the West of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
And from the air!
Some of the other research flights we are trying to research how well we can see the rich fossils on the ground.
Here is a photo of the copter in a region today with several eroding faces with fossils. Here is a close up of a ancient crocodile jaw fragment.The fossils can be from the very small rodent, hominids, to giant hippo and elephant over 1 million years old.
Autodesk has been working with Louise Leakey, Turkana Basin Institute, and the National Museums of Kenya to document an amazing collection of fossils in 3D using Autodesk 123D Catch for display online at http://www.africanfossils.org.
We are now exploring several more ways in which to capture data with the latest technology to help preserve ancient sites and fossils. In remote locations around the world sites, structures, and fossils records are being lost and finding ways to capture them digitally would change everything. Imagine all the downstream possibilities after you capture these one of a kind objects, you could share the digital geometry with a remote researcher to study across the world or even create a cardboard pattern or 3D print so school children could have a copy in their classroom rather than a picture in a book.
Introduction Video narrated by Louise Leakey:
Welcome to AfricanFossils.org
We have been living and working off the grid for quite sometime with only solar & wind power, rain water or wells and mostly local food and an Internet or cell phone connection occasional as a treat although some AC would be a really nice treat in the intense heat of the day. Finding a cold Tusker Lager is equally amazing when chilled to freezing and taking a deep breath and looking at the scenery and reflecting on the busy day. One of my favorite and necessary pieces of equipment in my backpack has been my GoalZero solar panels and batteries which give me plenty of juice for the laptops, receivers, cell phones, cameras, as well as last night using the GoalZero invertor we were able to use a soldering gun to repair connections on the copter. I charge the panels during the day with the abundant sun.
The people and region is absolutely stunning and add to that the capturing of ancient ruins and fossils from a location of the earliest human evolution where hominid fossils are being found. I am really trying to stay awake and doing something every single minute so I do not waste a minute in this amazing and remote part of Kenya.
As I am writing this blog post taking advantage of an Internet connection being available (rare), it is so hot today my machine has shutdown several times so now I have my laptop comfortably resting on an ice pack.
I leave you with a photo of my hat which had been snatched off my head by a thorny tree.Apparently the tree wanted me or the hat to stick around a little longer.