Dr. Carl DiSalvo Collaborates on Foraging Project with Alumni Craig Durkin

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Georgia Tech Alumni Craig Durkin and Digital Media’s Dr. Carl DiSalvo were recently featured in the GT Alumni Magazine along with DM PhD candidate Tom Jenkins and Computational Media and Industrial Design undergraduates. Focusing on the development of their recent project that aims to offload some of the labor involved in urban foraging, the article explains the path that led to their collaboration.

Durkin explains that he noticed years ago that there are many fruit trees throughout the city of Atlanta that go unpicked. This recognition led him and other Tech students to begin to forage around the city, store up the fruit in freezers, and host a great party at the end of the semester. It sounds like a harvest celebration for the public space of Atlanta.

Eventually, though, they had a significant excess of this fruit on their hands, and Durkin let that fortunate problem expand the foraging practice and founded Concrete Jungle, a non-profit that “promotes fun and intriguing ways to provide fresh produce to those who need it.”

Because these trees do not grow in dense clusters like in an orchard, the amount of work involved in gathering the fruit is intense—even with the hundreds of volunteers sharing this goal. This is where Dr. DiSalvo got involved. He collaborated with the group to design methods by which they could gauge the ripeness of the fruit remotely, first with drones and then with sensors. By smoothing out some of the logistics of foraging, the group could more efficiently get the food to the people who need it.

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