The AuT Crone* is an autonomous being, part human, part digital, a new kind of cyborg. The Crone is a damaged unit, its physical functioning impaired by age-induced wear and tear and a faulty immune system. The link between this malfunctioning autonomous unit and the damaged environment it is investigating is noted and may prove a productive element in its data reporting function.
Incept date 01/07/2019 End date 01/07/2020
Operation SHIELD objectives:
To design & build armour and apparel for Aut Crone which:
Must enable the unit to maintain a working temperature across range -10C to 32C.
Must keep unit dry in wet conditions.
Must be made of sustainably produced and/or recyclable materials.
Must be repairable by the unit.
Electronics must operate on recyclable batteries or solar/kinetic power.
Armour must assist unit to move effectively and provide protection for unit’s most vulnerable areas (eyes, lungs, joints)
Design must contain stealth properties: to be quiet and provide camouflage in natural surroundings.
Results of field test assessing effectiveness of standard unit coverings to regulate temperature and provide waterproofing:
The unit spent 9 weeks walking and travelling around various locations in the UK. Urban and rural landscapes traversed; including coastal, moorland, low mountainous and farmland in late spring and early summer. The UK is in a temperate zone so fluctuations in conditions were relatively minimal. Recorded temperatures ranged from a low of 6C to a high of 26C. Light frosts were experienced on two nights at the start of the mission.
No severe winds were encountered. Coastal areas were consistently breezy, with wind speeds averaging between 1.2mps and 5mps. Severe wet conditions were experienced in Northumberland and Gloucestershire in May.
The PILGRIM mission was on the whole an effective opportunity for testing body apparel. The unit experienced a variable range of weather conditions and temperatures, within temperate, 3 season ranges. Further testing of updated kit will be performed during the winter 2019/20.
Aut Crone field tested commonly obtainable, standard outdoor coverings. Our intel indicated that synth fabrics out-perform plant and animal derived fabrics (linen, cotton, wool etc). Prior to PILGRIM the Aut Crone’s biological unit had had experience of using woolen and linen garments in the field and found that these also performed well. However, the woolen garments it used were bulky and heavier than similar synth garments.
Subjective (Aut Crone) assessment of phase 1 kit – Standard issue:
Jacket – Peter Storm, Stormshield – Comfortable. Excellent wind protection. Hip pockets difficult to access when wearing rucksac. Mild condensation issues. Rain ingress around shoulders and arms. Began to smell after a few weeks use. Washing removes waterproofing.
Trousers – Rohan Roamers
Pros: Comfortable, easy to wear. Quick drying after washing. Cons: Hip pockets difficult to access if wearing coat and rucksac. Thigh pocket with vertical zip difficult to open one handed, items placed in pocket tended to slip round to back of thigh. Hot in warmer weather. Fabric showing signs of wear. Questionable efficacy for female-sexed anatomy when voiding bladder.
Trousers – Mountain Warehouse waterproof trousers
Pros: Comfortable. Excellent thigh pocket with horizontal zip, large enough to carry phone. Warm and windproof. Nice sensation of invulnerability especially good for traversing through wet brush and brambles. Cons: Noisy. Hot in warmer weather. Mild condensation issues. Difficult to wash. See anatomy issue above.
Boots -Peter Storm, Brecon
Pros: Good grip. Waterproof. Cons: Not very comfortable, struggled to find inserts that worked with the boot. Frustrating to lace. Quite heavy. Have contributed to nerve irritation in left instep of biological unit.
Fleece – North Face
Pros: Warm, very lightweight. Easy to wash, quick drying. Cons: Poor moisture wicking. Made of plastic. Fabric showing signs of wear.
Aut Crone’s recommendations for apparel:
Temperature regulation is vital to the efficacy of the biological unit. This was most noticeable at night and during strenuous activity, when the biological unit’s temperature fluctuates rapidly. Regulating temperature is most effective with the use of thin layers.
Recommended layers (after undergarments) are;
lightweight long sleeved top
leggings or trousers
lightweight long sleeved jacket with removable sleeves
knee length raincoat with hood.
light fabric headcover for hot and/or windy conditions
knit headcover for cold weather or night
lightweight hand covers
waterproof hand covers
silk foot covers
wool foot covers.
During very hot weather the tunic/dress can be worn on its own.
The tunic, jackets and raincoat should all have pockets. Pockets on the fore and upper arms are strongly recommended.
Aut Crone’s secondary function during PILGRIM was to clear plastic debris from coastal sites. As a result of this activity and further intel obtained from various scientific papers and media, the Crone recommends that synth fabrics are used only where natural, sustainable fibres are not compatible with the objectives of warmth and waterproofing. Synth fabrics are problematic due to the shedding of micro-plastics in their production and washing. Research indicates Linen, Ramie, Bamboo and Wool are appropriate natural fibres. These fibres are sustainably produced and use less water in growth and processing than cottons and synth fibres.
Aut Crone’s primary objective is to record data regarding flora and fauna and weather. Stealth tactics must be used for effective documentation of most birds and animals. Apparel must be silent. Recommended colours are greys, greens and browns. A variation of these colours is recommended and should provide effective camouflage. Military style camouflage is not recommended for garments that may be used in urban environments.
Armour: No armour was used during the PILGRIM mission. However issues with the functioning of the biological unit during the mission indicate that armour will be a vital component for a high-functioning unit.
Protection and support is required around the knee, elbow and finger joints. Protection needs to be strong, flexible and designed in accordance with SHIELD’s operational objectives.
Armour must include UVA protection for biological vision components, protection of air-intake valves against micro-particles and moulds and option to use anti-noise protection.
Aut Crone will be equipped with physical support and personal defence armour only. No part of the unit is weaponised.
Phase 1 research for operation SHIELD is now complete. Design and manufacture of garments can proceed with referral to the recommendations outlined above. Finance has cleared purchasing of fabrics to complete: 1 tunic, 1 pair leggings, 1 pair gaiters, 1 pair wool socks, 1 lightweight long sleeved top.
Designs and patterns to follow.
Field research: PILGRIM
Northumberland Coast 07/05/2019 – 20/05/2019
The unit spent 13 days investigating a stretch of the Northumberland coast between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth. Unit moved through the area primarily by walking, with public transport (buses and trains) used to move longer distances between areas surveyed.
1. Investigate diversity of flora and fauna in coastal, farmed and semi wild environments.
Collect data pertaining to wildlife diversity. Data collection to include sound recordings, photographs, species sightings with latitude and longitude references and material samples.
2. Test biological unit functioning.
Test and collect data on biological unit’s capacity to function in a range of meteorological and geographical situations. Improve biological unit’s aerobic capacity and muscle strength.
3. Gather intel to assist design and development of AuT Crone armour.
Continue kit testing begun during Norfolk recon (see Report No 2). Report on weather protection capability of unit’s current apparel.
4. Collect plastic rubbish.
Results: Investigate diversity of flora and fauna in coastal, farmed and semi wild environments
The unit recorded 77 species across the following categories: trees & shrubs – herbs & grasses – fungi – lichen & mosses – seaweeds – birds – mammals – reptiles – amphibians – butterflies – moths – spiders – bees – beetles – other insects – invertebrates.
A (currently uncounted) number of photographs were taken of the landscapes the unit traversed. Photographic data was collected of flowering species and seashore species. Sound recordings were made of birdsong and landscape elements. The unit made an audio record of species seen during a short expedition across farmland adjacent to the coast. The transcript is available at: https://susankruse.blogspot.com/2019/05/observations-recorded-on-walk-in.html)
The unit’s digital photography equipment was not sufficient to record bird-life with any success. An upgrade to this equipment is recommended. Similarly the unit is not currently equipped with enhanced vision, it is recommended that the unit is equipped with binocular vision for it’s next mission.
The unit reported difficulties documenting species in the field and proposes the following upgrades:
Improvements to it’s onboard species recognition programme
A voice responsive recording system
Improved photographic capabilities
Note: education upgrades have been approved and will be implemented in due course. Photographic and voice responsive system upgrades will be implemented after discussion with Finance.
Results: Test biological unit functioning.
The unit walked 93.4 miles, an average daily mileage of 7.1. It’s resting heart rate was 64bpm during the mission, up from it’s baseline measurement of 60.6bpm. Its average maximum exertion rate was 131bpm increased from it’s baseline of 122.9bpm. The maximum exertion rate is conducive to sustained aerobic improvement.
1,910 feet of elevation gained; a daily average of 146ft. The coastal terrain was somewhat more variable than the terrain found during the Norfolk recon.
The unit reported no difficulty with traversing upward elevation but experienced difficulty on downward slopes.
The biological unit is not an optimal specimen being an older model with an inherent auto immune condition causing unit-wide inflammation. Additionally, there is known damage to both knee joints and possible damage to sacral spine (unconfirmed by MRI – but unit reports ‘pain’ in this area).
1.Include knee and elbow bracing in design of new armour
2. Unit reports pain sensation and stiffness throughout biological parts. Dose with 200mg Ibuprofen daily after morning rations. Is also permitted up to 400mg of Ibuprofen daily alternating with or taken in conjunction with 500 to 1,000mg of Paracetamol as required.
3. Further consultation with rheumatology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy recommended
Unit is finding that optimising energy intake for the biological unit is problematic and requests a full nutritional ration plan. This will be implemented with immediate effect.
4. Gather intel to assist design and development of AuT Crone armour.
We are currently collating information gathered during the mission which will be disseminated in Report No 4, to be released by 30/07/2019
4. Collect plastic rubbish.
The unit collected an estimated 3lbs of plastic during the mission.
A list of species recorded by Aut Crone.
Day 16 of PILGRIM mission.
Location: 55.440638 – 1.590956
Wilfdlowers, shrubs and grasses:
Various unidentified rushes and grasses
Seaweeds and algae:
Unidentified red algae
Orange Tip butterfly
Common shore crab
Preliminary Field Test:
Norfolk coast 26/04/2019 – 04/05/2019
AuT Crone conducted a short recon mission to test essential items of kit before undertaking spring/summer 2019 mission: PILGRIM
The Norfolk coast was chosen for this mission as it has similar terrain to that which will be encountered during the PILGRIM mission and there was a suitable venue for a base camp in the nearby town of Norwich.
The kit is allocated into 4 units:
ENERGY PRODUCTION ( food and solar)
AuT Crone is a highly skilled observational unit, however, it’s biological parts are of poor quality. Most of AuT Crone’s computing abilities are housed in a biological computer, or brain, which needs the biological unit it is attached to to function. Therefore it is imperative that the biological unit is maintained and if possible improved during the mission to enable the brain to perform at optimal levels.
Shelter and environmental protection are necessary to support the biological unit. Energy production is used for the biological unit and digital devices used to capture and record data.
Tarp – Six Moon Designs, Deschutes
Sleeping bag – Sierra Designs, Laser ultralight polyfibre
Sleep mat -Multimat, Adventure ultralight 1/2 length
WEATHER PROTECTION :
AuT Crone will design itself a suitskin on completion of the PILGRIM mission. During PILGRIM it will use standard outdoor clothing to cover and protect the biological unit.
Jacket – Peter Storm, Stormshield.
Trousers – Rohan, Roamers.
Mountain Warehouse waterproof trousers.
Boots -Peter Storm, Brecon.
Fleece -North Face.
In the field, digital equipment is powered by Anker Powerport Solar charger. Devices may also be charged from the grid, where available.
The biological unit is charged with primarily plant-based fuel. In the field protein is sourced via dairy products or nuts.
Due to the biological unit’s physical frailty, energy rations need to be lightweight, therefore, dried foodstuffs are commonly consummed.
Hot rations are produced using a Vango ultralight stove and gas cannister. One small cannister lasted the entire 7 day recon with fuel to spare.
For PILGRIM, AuT Crone is using a Huawei Prolite 20 smartphone.
Drawn_Motion movement capture by Psiconlab
Sony IC Sound Recorder
Brannan 13/430/0 Digital Anemometer
Garmin Vivosport health and activity tracker.
RESULTS OF FIELD TEST:
Most of the equipment performed well with the exception of the tarp and biological unit.
The tarp proved to be unsuitable for conditions likely to be experienced by the AuT Crone during PILGRIM.
It has severe issues with condensation if pitched for maximum wind protection, leading to other equipment inside the tarp getting wet. If pitched to improve air flow, excessive drafts impacted on the biological unit. On the fourth day the unit sustained a small injury to its right intercostal muscles which was made worse by cold drafts seeping through the tarp. This injury is being managed with NSAIDs and is improving.
The tarp was abandoned on return to base camp and a new tent has been purchased but is yet to be tested.
The biological unit is as expected, the item of equipment most likely to under perform or become damaged. It is carrying extra weight with the new tent so mileages have been shortened to not more than 10m per day for the first 5 days of the PILGRIM mission. The unit has had three days without walking more than 5m in order to facilitate repair to the damaged intercostal muscles. This appears to be a successful strategy so far.
Energy production is occasionally problematic. Biological rations are more expensive than anticipated and budgets have been revised. Solar charging for digital units is generally performing well but grid charging is still necessary when the weather is poor.
AuT Crone is performing as expected, with slight adjustments to kit and one small injury to the biological unit, which was not unexpected.
PILGRIM begins 09/05/2019 for 60 to 90 days. Duration of mission to be determined by health of biological unit and budget.