Boulogne-Sur-Mer Research Trip

Hello, it’s Larissa here, Project Manager at SafetyNet Technologies. I’m looking after the various trials and projects we run.

I’m writing a short update about a trip that we went on last week. I was joined by Dan Watson, founder and all round great human and Chris Natt, our Human Centred Designer (he’s a great human too). As part of the FTL-FISH project which we run with FROM-Nord we are looking at the usability of our Pisces devices and how we can make them work best for the fishermen that have to use them.

We found ourselves on a research expedition to Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France, to visit our partners at FROM-Nord and interview people involved in the fishing community in the area.

As part of our two day visit to Boulogne-Sur-Mer we met with boat owners, suppliers, went to the local fish market (at 4am!), saw a fish auction and met with Loïc a very charismatic skipper who showed us around his vessel. Why was all this information important? We want to make sure that Pisces will fit seamlessly into the fishermen’s work practices, be easy to purchase set up and use, and in order to do this we need to understand how they work currently and make sure that anything we bring into that system will not hinder the smooth running of their jobs. SafetyNet Technologies has great ambition to make fishing more sustainable,and part of that is to sustain the fishermen’s livelihoods, by making devices that not only work to fish selectively but are easy to use and maintain.

As Aran mentioned before, doing research trips like this, and applying what we learn from them into our design process is a part of the field of ‘human-centered design’. A trip like this allows us to further understand fishing practices around the world and make sure that Pisces can be used anywhere and by anyone on a fishing vessel. Now that the engineered part of the devices are fully functioning, from the pressure resistant housing to the programmable lights, and we’re getting very positive feedback from trials, we can focus on the functionality.

The next steps are to get a more robust understanding of how the devices can attach to the nets, we want to avoid the use of cable ties, which seems to be a go to for fishermen; and understand when is the best time for them to attach, control and remove the devices. We’ll mock up some prototypes and hope to run a workshop in the coming months.