Jun 29, 2015 | By Simon

When it comes to some of the most innovative and unique approaches to using modern day Maker technologies including microcontrollers and additive manufacturing technologies, it truly is amazing what can be found on crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter.  

Whether the projects are 3D printers, modified open source computers or products that aim to make the process of working with them easier and more user-friendly, it’s safe to say that the platforms never disappoint when it comes to finding examples of what’s capable using what we have readily available to us today.

Among other recent projects are those that not only merge 3D printing and open source computers such as the Arduino or Raspberry Pi, but also incorporate a strong focus on the software - or coding- development, too.  Previously we’ve seen this in projects including Kano’s DIY computer kit, a number of robot toys and for the younger set, a Robot Turtles board game.  Needless to say, the trifecta of all of these modern day maker tools are the perfect starting point for the ‘perfect’ STEM project.  

Now, Naturebytes, a new startup from the UK, wants to hold on to what’s great about all of these ‘indoor’ learning activities and bring them outside with a focus on using the technologies with nature.  

The startup has just launched a new Kickstarter campaign for their Wildlife Cam Kit, which aims to help young makers capture wildlife photos using a Raspberry Pi-powered camera with the option to 3D print their own camera housing.

“Developing skills in computing, coding, 3D design & printing are rapidly increasing in importance, but fun and purposeful activities to do this are sadly lacking,” says the company on their Kickstarter page.  

“People often blame technology and computers for inactivity and kids not getting outdoors but Naturebytes is taking a new approach. We take cool technology and combine it with the fascination of wildlife to inspire everyone to learn new skills and engage in purposeful community activities. We show people how technology and wildlife are good for one another, not enemies!”

The weatherproof camera trap kit is not only designed to house the Raspberry Pi Model A, but also survive the elements through all of the seasons.  In total, the kit features the Raspberry Pi, a battery pack, a Pi cam and an infrared sensor that’s set up to enable motion-sensitive photo and video for any wildlife that may come into its proximity.  Because the kit is open source at its core, it is also upgradable to include a number of extra features including Wi-Fi for automatic uploads of imagery soon after they happen.

Perhaps most exciting for 3D printing enthusiasts though, is that the Naturebytes team is selling a ‘Developer Kit’ version of the project that allows design engineers to create their own Wildlife Cams using their own 3D printers and Raspberry Pi know-how.

“This one's for advanced makers, developers and designers,” says the company.   

“If you've already got a 3D printer and are an experienced maker, with this kit you'll have all of the specialist electronics and design files necessary to hack, design and share your modifications with the Naturebytes community.”

In essence, this means that Makers can experiment with not only different shapes and sizes of cameras to suit their needs, but they can also experiment with different filaments, too for camouflage purposes.  

Currently, the Naturebytes team is sitting at just over $10,000 of their $45,000 campaign goal with just under a month left to go in their campaign.  For those interested in creating their own Wildlife Cams, the Developer Kits start at $71 while the pre-built Wildlife Cams are being sold starting at $134.   

“Developing skills in computing, coding, 3D design & printing are rapidly increasing in importance, but fun and purposeful activities to do this are sadly lacking,” adds the company.   “

(We are) taking a new approach, moving learning beyond the classroom and computer desk.”    



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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