About Us

Freaklabs develops Arduino-based hardware for wildlife research, environmental conservation and basic infrastructure in rural and remote areas.

We work in partnership with individual researchers, research institutes, landcare managers, global organisations, NGOs and governments to develop systems that are customised, accessible and affordable, and can be maintained by those that use them.

 

What We Do

Hardware Development

We design new devices, adapt existing devices, and take ideas or prototypes to field-ready, deployable devices. We also offer hardware and accessories that can be adapted for different types of monitoring and deployment conditions, and provide training and advice on how to do it.

Capacity Building

We develop online courses and run in-person workshops and training on hardware and programming so those using the hardware can understand and maintain it, and those in wildlife research and conservation can design their own devices.

Consulting

We provide full system development from concept through to deployment, training and maintenance. We also advise on ways technology can be used in wildlife research, environmental conservation, small-scale agriculture and basic infrastructure, explore how partners can tap into the manufacturing ecosystem to make their hardware more affordable, and provide technical assessments and due diligence.

Our Approach

Collaboration

We collaborate with domain experts and end users including ecologists, conservationists, water specialists and soil researchers to understand the real needs and unasked questions that underlie each problem we’re trying to solve.

Appropriate Technology

We ask what’s the most appropriate technology for the job, not what’s the latest, fastest or most powerful.  We don’t believe technology alone will solve problems or provide the answers, but it can be a powerful tool in the hands of people that are. The hardware and software we develop for ourselves is open source so it can be adapted and built upon by others for their own needs.

Knowledge Transfer

For technology to have the most impact, we believe those that use it need to know how it’s made, how it works, how it can be adapted, and how to maintain it.  Throughout the process, we emphasise understanding and skill development so our partners have the technical confidence to maintain or adapt their systems as they need too.

Projects & Partners

Projects

Our projects span wildlife monitoring, conservation, indie and small-scale agriculture, and rural and remote infrastructure.  They include adding audio triggers to camera traps to monitor responses to predator/prey sounds, monitoring the water levels in rice paddies fields, monitoring GPS and liquid levels in septage trucks to prevent illegal dumping into the Nile, monitoring soil for conservation land management, and radiation monitoring in Japan.

Partners

We work with individual researchers from Princeton University (USA), Monash University  (Australia), University of Porto (Portugal) and others, conservation and landcare managers including Bush Heritage Australia, and international organisations such as  The World BankInternational Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and UNESCO.

We also work with WILDLABS, an online community for conservation technology, and technology partners and communication providers including ARGOS.

The Team

Chris ‘Akiba’ Wang

Akiba has a background in electronics and product design and has been designing circuits for the past 25 years. His experience spans IC and FPGA, firmware, and hardware design to manufacturing. His specialty is in outdoor wireless sensor networks and has been working on it since 2002. His work has gravitated towards technology for environmental monitoring and is now working on wildlife conservation.

Jacinta Plucinski

Jacinta is a content and software developer specializing in web technologies. She’s also a published author, runs her own book and games publishing company, and has started her own magazine. She’s worked for Google, SCMP, Discovery Channel, Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) and Special Broadcasting Services (SBS). She’s studying ecology and when not working on technology or publishing projects, plays the harp or DnD, and goes hiking or diving.

Anything Else?

We’re co-founders of Tokyo Hackerspace, and Hackerfarm, a hackerspace with an agricultural context and shared farm, in Japan.  We also run a small-farm and orchard in Japan, where we explore organic and regenerative agriculture, and food forests.


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