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A project log for Portable environmental monitor

A handheld, battery powered, sensor array unit for environmental monitoring focused mostly on air quality using a global infrastructure.

Radu MotisanRadu Motisan 09/19/2015 at 12:010 Comments

The portable environmental monitor addresses pollution, the kind that we are unable to see but directly affects our health and can cause life threatening diseases. Airborne toxic chemicals, radioactive dust and radioactive radon are correlated with cases of pulmonary cancer, asthma and heart disease. Since our biological senses can do little to warn us of such possible dangers, we have designed the Portable environmental monitor as a first line detection and warning system. This is not the regular detector: packed with powerful sensors capable of detecting both the chemical and the physical harmful factors, these devices are designed with Internet wireless connectivity to share all readings to the Global uRADMonitor network.

September 2014, almost one year ago, the “production ready” of the Model A series of radiation detectors was announced. Interest was excellent and as a result the uRADMonitor network got were it is today, continuously committed to offering open environmental surveillance data. There was also generous feedback from the community, helping to understand how to shape the next steps better. And some of that we see today, embedded in the new uRADMonitor-D units. Features like built in WiFi connectivity, rechargeable battery, LCD display were all highly wanted. But hardware is just half the story as the many software layers also come to complement the solution, a recent example being the network’s webportal, updated to support all the new features.

The many improvements also include a high quality LND 712 Geiger tube, perfect for detecting alpha, beta and gamma radiation. The new uRADMonitor-D monitors not only ionising radiation, but also air quality to address pollution at a global scale. The new units are portable, meaning they are well suited for field use. There’s a huge 2.4″ color LCD with touchscreen for all user interactions. The wireless connectivity and the built in flash storage can be used to synchronise the readings with the server, when wireless Internet is available. There’s been a long road getting from there to here, and this was possible only thanks to the interest and support manifested by the entire community. This was after all, a crowd project built to serve the interest of us all.

Putting the numbers in the hands of people will directly impact pollution awareness, leading to a more rational attitude in regards to the environment – and as a direct result – improved quality of life. uRADMonitor is just a tiny component of the big plan to get us there.


Getting a unit

To get a uRADMonitor device and join the network, see Join the network or build your own, as uRADMonitor-D is 100% open source and fully documented on Hackaday.io. More hi-res photos of the model D production units are available on the FB page or on Hackaday.io.

[top Air Pollution image credit: http://www.bloodflowonline.com/perspectives/air-pollution-and-cardiovascular-diseases]

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