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.
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.
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.