Fritz Francisco


Dates July 01 – 14


Previously I have worked on various aquatic animal systems, both in the field and in controlled laboratory environments, to better understand the mechanisms governing social interactions. Now I have joined the interdisciplinary cluster Science of Intelligence as part of the project on Dynamical Collective Adaptation & Learning to elucidate on the fact that animals are capable of continuously adapting to changing environments and novel situations. One way individuals are capable of doing so is by learning, a form of  inter- individual information transfer and knowledge accumulation. It enables an individual to understand its environment and  therefore minimize uncertainty about future situations. Using schooling fish (whose social and physical context as well as the previous experience and knowledge of each individual can easily be manipulated), my project addresses the topic of adaptation and learning in animal groups.

In my daily life I’m driven most by the combination of art, science and craftsmanship, which I try to implement wherever I can. A further aspect of focus dear to me is teaching and passing on information and coming up with new ideas and ways to interact with each other.

in vivo information gain

To me the best way to learn and study is by trial and error, which is why I especially like to move between the controlled lab space and the field environment, in order to test my ideas and gain robust insights. The project I want to approach while at Dinacon is a device with which wild animals can interact with. These interaction should be recorded (either via video or sensor output) and serve as quantifiable information about such naturalistic processes as play, exploration, creativity and problem solving in wild animals. I hope to achieve this by implementing some simple mechanisms which can be manipulated by the animals directly without receiving any reward other than information about the process. The mechanism is planned to be constructed by using raspberry pis, cameras, stepper motors, leds and microcontrollers.

I’m excited to join Dinacon this year as I have been following the work by this fantastic team over the last years and always thought this was a amazing platform for bringing people together in a constructive way!