Entomology is the scientific field dedicated to the research and study of insects. In the last several decades, many journals and scientific papers have addressed the decline in insect populations worldwide and the increased need to understand the reasons for this. Many have called this decline an indicator that we have entered a “Sixth Extinction” which would lead to a mass extinction of life on Earth. How can we as designers provide assistance to the scientific community who are working to understand and provide solutions to this natural crisis? As an Entomologist's primary tool for observation, microscopes and other optical technologies have developed to provide sophisticated solutions for imaging both singular and multiple insects. However, the process of positioning them for imaging has largely been ignored by companies that design and manufacture imaging equipment. Accurately positioning an insect for study or preparing for digital preservation can be a time consuming and repetitive task even for those with extensive practice. This can lead scientists into choosing simple tools that are quick to use but often are hand held or rigid tools that can’t be easily adjusted if the view and position of the insect needs to be changed. Repositioning the original view inevitably costs time/money and increases handling of a fragile specimen. Additional difficulties arise when attempting to study their underside or physical features that extend beyond the length of the standard needle that they are mounted on; and then compound this with inadequate equipment solutions. I am proposing a new device called the “INSpECTor”, a 2 axis positioning tool that is manually controlled by a belt system that mimics the hand’s natural movements and more importantly allows for adjusting the position of a pinned insect in real time while remaining stable, creating a safe zone around a specimen, and improving lighting.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Entomology--Equipment and supplies--Design; Insects--Collection and preservation; Insects--Imaging
Industrial Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Communication (CLA)
Mayo, Josef, "The INSpECTor: Removing Barriers to Efficient Specimen Analysis by Reduced Specimen Repositioning" (2023). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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