Categories: Chris Shing, Culturally Situated Community Sensing, Louis Gutierrez
by Kirk Jalbert
After much effort negotiating open copyright with the MDL administration in Spring of 2011, the RPI sensor team was ultimately faced with a more difficult challenge…their technology didn’t work. This may be only a partial truth – certain parts of the MDL sensor design worked according to specifications, but many aspects of the hardware and software were riddled with bugs and design curves we simply didn’t have the resources to sort out in time for our field tests in Summer of 2011. Since the MDL built their platform on an Arduino architecture, we were able to switch the core processing components over to off the shelf hardware and build around this accordingly. In the end we came up with a hybrid solution to bring into the field.
The end device was capable of sensing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), temperature, relative humidity, and soil moisture. Louis and Chris also tried to get a dust particle sensor working to no avail, but it was a valiant effort. To be truthful, the VOC and CO sensors didn’t work to our satisfaction in this first model, but it did give us relative values for some educational comparison purposes. You can read the full user manual for the sensor device here.
Here are some photos of the RPI Sensor model 1.0…
Photos credit: Kirk Jalbert