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Public Lab Research note


by cfastie | September 25, 2012 17:06 25 Sep 17:06 | #4006 | #4006

Thank you LEAFFESTERS! We had the perfect crowd and good weather for LEAFFEST this past weekend. We were able to fly kites on both Saturday and Sunday (eight kites total, I think), although the only payload that flew on Sunday was a GPS watch. We flew three payloads on Saturday including some original contraptions designed by Craig Versek and Don Blair.

We all got a sneak peak at the new Public Lab countertop spectrometer that Jeff Warren demonstrated by capturing, among other spectra, the sodium D lines from the flame of burning salt.

The crazy talent of the assembled group was manifest a few hours after we collected continuous temperature, pressure, and GPS coordinates during a 40 minute kite flight and there were at least three separate visualizations of the flight all competing for the honor of being most colorful, awesome, and 3D.

There were some immediately fruitful discussions leading to a plan to create an inexpensive, open source pan/tilt camera platform like a Gigapan imager for taking timelapse panoramas, and Jeff’s new design for an infrared camera aerial platform controlled by a Raspberry Pi.

There are already some research notes posted on results of the weekend, and there may be many more. Here are a few of the projects you may hear more about:

  • Infrared conversion of a Canon Powershot A2200 (already posted by Ned).

  • 500 aerial photos taken by Galen operating the RC KAP rig during a 40 minute kite flight.

  • Temperature, pressure, and accelerometer data from a Jeenode saving to SD card, and GPS X Y Z data from a Garmin GPS watch during a 40 minute kite flight (great success thanks to Don).

  • Photos transferred from KAP rig to ground-based laptop in real time by a Raspberry-Pi-controlled web cam and WiFi node (huge accomplishment by Craig).

  • A Jeenode and thermistor combo transmitting temperature data wirelessly to a computer and uploading it live to an online graph (at Thanks to Don and Craig for hours of work lashing together hardware and code to make this work.

  • Chemical generation of hydrogen gas from sodium hydroxide and aluminum until a Mylar sleeping bag was able to lift itself and a few mosquitoes. (Don and Craig in protective eyeware, ‘nuff said.)

  • And more! Should LEAFFEST have a wiki page where all this gets compiled?

Thanks again to all the participants, not only for your creative energy and generous spirit, but for not exploding my house or the septic system.

Thanks to Badel Mbanga for the non-aerial gallery photos. Top image taken by Galen: Badel, Craig, Jeff, Galen, Chris, and Don watch the KAP rig return to Earth after a 40 minute flight.


Wow, those aerials came out really amazingly!

I'll post something shortly about the script ( we worked on for auto-sorting images.

Thanks again, Chris!!

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