Progress Update On Aqueous Sensor Nodes

Categories:  Andrew Ellis, Culturally Situated Community Sensing, James Davis, Photos, Uncategorized

Communication / Programming
The nodes are now communicating with each other at a very basic level. They are also sleeping until requested. However, there are a fair number of bugs that must be worked out this week. I hope to have them all working in harmony to report to the base station and sleeping properly  by next week .

Andrew Ellis has been working on the power supply and has settled on the schematic he wants to use. I have also been playing around (because I can’t help myself), and it all looks very promising. I will make sure that something is together, even if it’s not the final version, by next week.

Toby Michelena provided a buoy and anchor as we hoped that he would, although it’s a bit different from what was expected. It’s small and light, which is great in many respects, but being close to the water, we will have to be careful about the communications going under water. There is also no complex structure up top, so we need to be careful about snow and ice forming on top of the solar cell during the winter. This will inform the design of the enclosure. I hope to have a final design and something mocked up of this by next week.

Flow Cell
The pump for the flow cell is still on order and should arrive next week. Once that is in, I can experiment with using a mesh to keep the pump from clogging, and build a small setup to channel water through the opening.
Pump Image

DaLi Shao was kind enough to provide the next generation of sensor and show me how it works. That will be hooked up, and hopefully tested with linearity & repeatability data by next week, though I make no promises. The turbidity and temperature sensors are languishing though.

Aqueous Sensor Nodes

Categories:  Andrew Ellis, Culturally Situated Community Sensing, James Davis, Kathleen Tully, Photos, Uncategorized

In cooperation with the Sawyer Working Group, a new version of the culturally situated sensors is currently in development for deployment in rivers and lakes. These networks will hopefully provide an inexpensive means of constantly collecting data on contamination and pinpoint and eliminate sources of contamination. These sensor nodes are to have new sensors developed by Professor Sawyers team for detecting bacteria, but will build off of the platform developed previously. This project will hopefully proceed to a test deployment in Poestenkill and then potentially Lake George or the Hudson River In collaboration with Professor Chris Bystroff and Toby Michelena. It is our hope that we can get a version of this into the water by the end of the fall semester, although truthfully, it may not happen until early spring. Further deployments will follow in the spring. Once a successful deployment has been made, it is hoped that students at Albany High school can be involved by having them help develop a new generation of nodes for use at school or for deployment at one of the aforementioned locations.

While the GIS components should fit in with the work being done by Kathleen Tully. I, James Davis, am currently developing the physical nodes and software. The project breaks down into 5 parts: Communication, Power, Enclosure, Flow cell, and Sensors.

An Android application that connects to Arduinos and downloads data has been developed, with progress being made toward Arduino to Arduino communication (so that one need not wade into the middle of a lake or large river to collect data). Hopefully this additional functionality will be completed by 10/28.
Sensor nodes will be largely solar powered. The components for this have been delivered and a test setup was made to confirm viability. Assembly of the full prototype and testing has been handed of to former fellow Andrew Ellis of the Sawyer Working Group.

A buoy and anchor for the first prototype have been acquired by Toby Michelena, and starting 10/23 construction on the enclosure should begin.

Flow Cell:
A flow cell is slated to be built and tested, but the necessary components are still on order and may not arrive until 10/28.

The bacterial sensor is currently being upgraded by several generations of sensors to one developed by Dr. DaLi Shao that is more robust, sensitive and accurate. A new PCB has been designed, fabricated, and tested for the implementation of these sensors, and a second generation is currently under review.

Further sensors for turbidity and temperature are being tested as part of the system. And will be integrated before deployment.

Instructions for Arduino Temperature Sensing: Compost Computing

Categories:  Culturally Situated Community Sensing

Arduino-Compost Handout

Click the above link to download a handout detailing the set up and use of an Arduino temperature sensor and countertop compost bucket.  Use the temperature sensor to explore how the heat level of the compost changes over time!

Climate and Culturally Situated Sensing

Categories:  Culturally Situated Community Sensing, Michael O’Keefe

During the spring semester, I have been working in Doyle Middle School with Mr. Dunleavy’s 7th grade science class; a different teacher and class than I worked with during the fall semester. My goal for this semester is to give the students an introduction to climate science, which I can use to introduce the Culturally Situated Sensing project with the Sensorcache.

First, we talked about the difference between weather and climate. I used a worksheet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Service Education group to demonstrate different climates, then had the students find examples of different climate zones in the United States.

The next activity correlated this knowledge of climate zones with the temperature and precipitation levels for various states, and had the students think about their ideal climate. They then graphed the climate data they recorded using a bar graph. Students seemed to respond well to this activity.

Both of these activities were conducted on days during which mandatory English Language Arts testing was being conducted by the school, shortening some class periods by 15-20 minutes and completely cutting out others.  Delay has been a theme so far in my classroom experience, as it took me almost a month to get into the classroom during the second semester, due to delays at the school district level.

My next goal for the classroom is to begin introducing the topic of climate change, and discussing human impacts on climate. I hope to have the students complete an assessment of the climate impact each individual has, showing them what everyday activities produce in greenhouse gas emissions/waste products, and what they take in land area to generate. Making the students more aware of the ecological cost of their actions will demonstrate the difference each person can make, and be a good lead in for discussing the role sensing has in understanding and fighting climate change.