OfficeTalk #01: Machines in the Field

January 31, 2024 - Uncategorized


Thursday 01/February/2024 3:00 p.m

ArtScienceBLR, Rooha 103, Srishti Manipal Institute,MAHE Bangalore.

We are delighted to invite you to OFFICE TALKS #01: Machines in the field two talks which are part of an ongoing collaboration between scientists and artists in India and Germany. Originally initiated by Dr. Hemal Naik and Dr. Vivek Sridhar as “FIELD TRIP” – a collaboration of artists and scientists based out of the Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, Konstanz.

Dr. Hemal Naik and Dr. Vivek Sridhar will deliver the first edition of their talk on Thursday,01 February at 3:00 p.m at the ArtScienceBLR lab in Rooha 103,SMI. Both Dr. Naik and Dr. Sridhar focus on applying cutting edge technology to the study of animal behaviour. Dr. Naik’s talk will focus on the use of computer vision, machine learning, and AR/VR to explore applications in wildlife research. Dr. Sridhar will talk about decision making and the algorithms used by the brain while choosing among options distributed in space. They will also talk about their collaborations with artists and researchers from other disciplines.

These talks are supported by the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology,Bangalore,The Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, Konstanz, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore and (Art)ScienceBLR at SMI.


Hemal Naik is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz. He uses computer vision, machine learning, and AR/VR to explore applications in wildlife research. His recent research includes developing a 3D tracking facility to study interactions between individuals in groups. The technology is versatile and can be used with insects, mammals, or birds. The outcome is high-frequency measurements of their movements and vocalizations. Additionally, he will talk about various art-science initiatives established in the last few years to encourage dialogue between scientific and non-scientific audiences. 

Hemal Naik focuses on developing technological solutions for practical applications. Hemal has worked in the healthcare, and manufacturing sectors before moving to wildlife research. Hemal tries to identify technological issues concerning studying ecology and tries to build scalable technological solutions. He also works on various art-science collaborations for science outreach. Hemal is an avid bird watcher and uses sketches and storytelling to highlight different aspects of his research.



Dr. Vivek Sridhar will give an overview of his research interests and the work he has been doing. He will present some of hispast work where he will reveal the algorithm used by the brain while choosing among options distributed in space. Ihe will discuss why evolution seems to have found the same solution to decision-making across scales of biological organisation and the consequences this has for our understanding of movement and social influence in animal collectives. This is specifically in the context of mate-choice on blackbuck leks (arenas where males aggregate in clustered territories and display to find mates). In addition to doing science, he also engage in art as means to reach a broader audience. He will end the talk with showing you work he did as part of the ‘Field Trip’ residency, an exchange programme setup as part of his work in India.

Dr. Vivek Sridhar is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies, at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the University of Konstanz. His interests lie in understanding how and why, animals move the way that they do, how they search for resources in their environment, how they choose among several such options, and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of such decisions. To do this, he combines theory with high-throughput lab experiments and field-based studies. By combining cutting-edge developments in the computer vision and machine learning with an understanding of ecology and animal behaviour, he hope to reveal fundamental principles that govern individual and collective animal behaviour, at both generational and evolutionary timescales.

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