Hide and Seek – Uncovering the Science Behind Camouflage

hide and seek

Client: CSIRO  and DSTO (Defence, Science & Technology)
Event: Australian Science Festival 2004
Presentation: An interactive showcase of Australian Scientific Innovation.
Purpose: To demonstrate how people, and in particular the Defence Forces, have learnt many of their Camouflage techniques from Nature.
Audience: General public and children in particular.
Outcome: 600 people attended over 7 presentations throughout Science Week.
Referee: Christine Cansfield-Smith – (Former Director CSIRO Discovery)

Presentation Details:

DanceKids used theatre, dance and film to demonstrate some of the clever techniques Nature uses in the art of Camouflage. Techniques such as colour, stillness, texture and behaviour (for example posturing), were explored and paralleled with techniques used by personnel in the armed forces.

Film footage was used to demonstrate some sophisticated adaptations in animals that have enabled them to develop incredible camouflage techniques. For example, a film sequence was shown of how the Peacock Flounder has a paper-thin profile with skin that can create a perfect facsimile of its surrounding. The stalked eyes of this flounder have a built-in feature detector that can quickly survey the surroundings and make a match.  This type of film was used to enhance the information being presented by the performance.

People of all ages came to see this presentation and enjoyed learning about the science behind camouflage through a theatre experience. The combination of live theatre and film enabled the audience to readily understand some quite complex mechanisms embodied in the natural world. At the same time, the audience gained an appreciation of how people from all walks of life have learnt and benefited from an understanding of Nature.

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