During my master degree, I worked on a six-month project that we can choose. So I wanted to work on a product who really matters. I make some research and find some problem in an old french sport. I meet a group of hunters and decided to go see how it work and if there was some possible solution.
I began this wonderful adventure thanks to a double master degree which I did in collaboration with an electronic engineer student.
Yohann Le Bourlout
I begin to explore this sport that I really don't know. In France, it is the second sport after football. It is also 143 people killed per year.
1 133 000
« Number of hunters in France »
« Amount of the hunting world economy in France »
143 hunting accident
« Per year in France »
I wanted to know what could explain these facts about accidents. I begin to meet different people from the hunting world.
Landscaper & Hunter
Technician specialises in "Hunting with beaters"
Director of the hunter Fédération in Loire Atlantique (French départment)
Raymond Mortier Dorian
Retired & Chef of "hunting with beaters" in the North of the department
At the end of these meetings, they accepted to let me go on some "Hunting with beaters" (chasse en battue in French) time. The most part of the accident take place in this special kind of hunt.
So I participate in 4 different "hunting with beaters" as an observer, to detect problems and analyse what could help. I filmed everything for analysis.
What is "hunting with beaters"
To clearly understand my problematic, I need to explain how works this special sport. A "hunting with beaters" may consist of 6 to 170 people on the same day, same place, with each of them, one rifle.
It exists 6 differents catégories of people/animal for this sports who have a specific work to do:
• Chef of the "hunting with beaters": He controls everything and everyone. Start the hunt and stop it if something happens. He can move in case of problems.
• Chef of the line: Each of them has a line with shooters in it. They control the good progress of the hunt. After the beginning of the hunt, they can't move to their position.
• Shooter: they are split in line waiting for prey, under the order of their chef. After the beginning of the hunt, they can't move to their position.
• Dog's master: He controls the dogs to find the prey and push them outside of the forest/reedbed.
• Piqueux (french specific world): they are helping the Dog's master to control the dog.
• Dog: they run after prey.
Based on our field research, I started to analyse every single problem and their cause.
Problem n°1: Accidents are caused by miscommunication. Try to control 50 (or more) hunters at the same moment is a huge task. You have to respect some distance between hunter. This means between the first hunter of the line and the last one, you can have a really big distance/kilometers. To communicate, they use a "pibole" (a little hunting horn). But this tool is not really effective due to the wind, the forest, or the distance of the party because you can't hear it. The second possibility is to have some talki walki. But it is noisy, you can have someone who is not a hunter on the wave, and only Chefs can have one.
Problem n°2: Localisation of people in the field. You don't know, where people are in real time. Because human is not perfect and disciplined, accidents happen when they quit their position or they are moving for any reason.
Problem n°3: Land Management is really important in France. To control and have a look at the wildlife's development, each plot is analysed and they count the numbers of each species. This technique is used to protect endangered species and reduced others as wild boar which destroyed car, land and garden. After each hunting, they have to file a report of every animal, viewed or dead (sex, age, weigh). Everything is done by hand which takes a long time and could be lost. If everything was easier and faster this could help to control wildlife and protect the biodiversity.
Thesis and process
During My double Master's degree, I create a thesis which group every aspect I studied in this field.
Propose a new way of communication thanks to smart object to improve security during hunting
"Com'hunt" is a smart object whichs help the organisation of the hunt to the very beginning until the end. It helps hunters to communicate securely with efficiency.
We create an innovative smart handle and a mobile app.
At the same time, I developed a smart handle and created the app.
I divided the app depending on the status the user has.
First, I analysed every single aspect of the hunt, the time, the way it works, what it could be more efficient and how. I determined three different users of this app, a simple user, a line's chief, a hunt's chief. It was really important to identify the useful data that each user really needs and the possibility they could have.
Low fidelity mock up
The solution was to create two different ways. The Hunt's chief way which controls everything. The Hunter and Line's chief way which will follow the direction, be reassurering, well guide and advise.
high fidelity mock up
I focused a little bit more on efficient data and create this final mockup.
We tested some interactions.
The connected objects
To begin, I needed to determine where I can add an interface on the user without creating an insecure position. When you hunt, you need to keep your rifle with you. You cannot let him on the floor or next to you. So I asked one of my user Teddy, to try some position of the future device to find the perfect position. This exercise helps me to analyse every possible position during a hunt, finger, head, and body.
Some photos of my test with Mr. Teddy Pavillon
It helps me to determine the only place which was possible for a user: on the handle. The problem was: you cannot use your other hand to touch the device because of the insecure position of the rifle.
Now everything was clear we needed to create a product which can help users to communicate without hand and be understand visually. Our first position was to use a phone and add some fabrics to attach it on the handle, but phones are a distraction and can ring in the middle on the hunt, which is not a good point, plus there are forbidden to use during a hunt.
So we begin to prototype a tiny object with electronics, microphone, Arduino, Bluethoot, LEDs, accelerometer.
The smart handle
This connected object is composed of two different modules.
This part is the chef module which means, it exists only one per handle and it controls all other units.
It uses different light signals to give information to the hunters. The accelerometer is used to activate the microphone.
This part is a "slave" module. You can have a maximum of 6 units per handle, but most part of the time during a hunt, only four animals are authorised.
Each information module is an animal. The LED line is a timeline. Each LED matches with an animal. The color of the LED defines the status of it.
After the finalisation of the prototype, we returned to a hunting party to show our progress and have some feedback.
User test and feedback about the product
Most parts of the hunters were interested in the project, and the color scheme was easy for them to understand.
For our final presentation, I create a short film to show the entire uses of our project.