Portable Environmental Monitor

The Internet of Things has given a real boost to “citizen science” by putting low-cost sensors and computer chips in the hands of creative tinkerers everywhere. Take, for example, the latest project from Romanian maker Radu Motisan: a handheld air quality monitor that scans for pollution and radioactivity.

Crowdsourced Air Quality Data: Portable Environmental Monitor

The Portable Environmental Monitor is Motisan’s entry for the 2015 Hackaday Prize, which answers the challenge to “Build something that matters.” Having previously created uRADMonitor, a radiation-detecting device and global reporting network that was a Hackaday semifinalist last year, it was a natural evolution to build on the worldwide infrastructure and offer a more flexible way to monitor health risks in our environment.

Stuffed into the prototype’s aluminum enclosure are an ATmega128 microcontroller, rechargeable battery, 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen, ESP8266 Wi-Fi module, and a suite of sensors — which can detect temperature and pressure, dust, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and three kinds of harmful radiation (alpha, beta and gamma). The device is controlled through a custom interface, the code for which is available as open-source software.

Crowdsourced Air Quality Data: Portable Environmental Monitor

Data from each Portable Environmental Monitor unit is streamed to a server where it can be mapped and combined with data from the uRADMonitor network, allowing citizen scientists around the world to collaborate on a vast, crowdsourced dataset of global air quality and radiation measurements.

Check out the video below to learn more and see how the prototype works.

Related: AirBeam, Breathe, NUSwan, Oxford Flood Network, Smart Citizen Kit, Tzoa


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