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Hardware Hacking Open Source Build Science Technology

Arducorder, Next Open Source Science Tricorder-like Device, Nears Completion 56

upontheturtlesback writes: The Arducorder Mini, an Arduino-compatible pocket-sized handheld sensing tool and the next in line of open source science tricorder-like devices designed by Dr. Peter Jansen, is nearing completion. Where the previous models have included about a dozen sensors spanning atmospheric, electromagnetic, and spatial readings, an exciting video of the new prototype shows this model includes sensors for spectroscopy, low-resolution thermal imaging, and radiation sensing. The development is open with the project build logs and most recent source schematics, board layouts, and firmware available on github. This project is an entry in the Hack a Day Prize for a trip to space.
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Arducorder, Next Open Source Science Tricorder-like Device, Nears Completion

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  • by Noishkel ( 3464121 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2014 @07:15PM (#48031835)

    As said this could be an interesting device. But I'm not really sure what this will allow anyone to do. Sure it's all well and good that you can collect data with it, but you'll have to be able to interpret this data into something that's useful. And that's not even touching the fact that this thing would be fragile as hell without a very well design and weather proofed case.

    But as with any project like this I comment the designers for thinking up a new and interesting device. And who knows. Maybe the next generation of device might be useful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I comment the designers for thinking up a new and interesting device

      They didn't think up a new and interesting device. They're trying to duplicate something they saw on a sci-fi TV show, thats primary use was exploration of alien planets - not exactly something I'd use on a regular basis. This is a solution in search of a problem - and it doesn't even do what it's supposed to do worth a damn.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        They're trying to duplicate something they saw on a sci-fi TV show, thats primary use was exploration of alien planets

        Some places on Earth are just as alien as anything you saw on Trek. How explored is the ocean floor?

        • How explored is the ocean floor?

          Or, for that matter, downtown LA?

        • It doesn't have to be alien like.

          The main purpose was to determine if the enviroment was hostile to them. Of course they did other crap but think about where we need to know if the enviroment is hostile.

          Think off fire response, motor vehicle accidents, threat assesments for dignitaries, yet another way to find electronic listening devices, and so on.

          Of course it might need a little work before it is ready and reliable but there is a use that may be right around tbe corner- litteraly

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I can already think of four or five uses for this. Things I'd want to use it for, and that I can see from the video I'd be able to make use of without any extensive training.

        Suggesting this doesn't have real utility only demonstrates a severe lack of imagination.

      • by necro81 ( 917438 )

        They're trying to duplicate something they saw on a sci-fi TV show, thats primary use was exploration of alien planets

        No, the tricorder's primary use was exposition, not exploration.

        TV Show Watcher: What the heck is going on there?
        Star Trek Character: (consults tricorder) There appears to be a radiation surge from other there, indicating a portal will soon appear and introduce this week's source of conflict.
        TV Show Watcher: Thanks, informative tricorder!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As said this could be an interesting device. But I'm not really sure what this will allow anyone to do.

      The point isn't what you can do with it, the point is that it's fun to build it and to experiment with all of the sensors. Perhaps that experimentation will spark some ideas for building things that actually are useful, but even that's a second-order concern.

      • As said this could be an interesting device. But I'm not really sure what this will allow anyone to do.

        The point isn't what you can do with it, the point is that it's fun to build it and to experiment with all of the sensors. Perhaps that experimentation will spark some ideas for building things that actually are useful, but even that's a second-order concern.

        This.

        What happened to the slashdot of old?

    • --The multimeter could be an interesting device. But I'm not really sure what this will allow anyone to do. Sure it's all well and good that you can collect data with it, but you'll have to be able to interpret this data into something that's useful. --

      The devices already all have uses, but scientific instruments are typically expensive. Something like this could potentially replace a whole lot of instruments, just as the multimeter did, and it could also be cheap enough to be useful for school or home s

  • Jim, i'm a doctor, not a LIKE.
  • A tricorder's nice and all, but you wanna see real technological innovation? Here, I got your technological innovation right here:

    https://vine.co/v/O7jjJMi5wTa [vine.co]

  • by Kevin Fishburne ( 1296859 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2014 @07:54PM (#48032031) Homepage
    Is there currently technology that senses the distance and density of matter and requires nothing be behind the object? If this device had the capability to graphically display this information I think that would impress more than anything else. You could scan for a broken bone, find lost objects in the grass (assuming they were more dense than the grass/dirt), or find studs or electrical wiring behind drywall in buildings.
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2014 @08:20PM (#48032177) Journal

      Check out ground penetrating radar. Also, TSA uses backscatter, which works in a similar way - it doesn't REQUIRE anything to be behind the subject, you get a clearer image if you have a plain background (where plain means uniform reflection of the frequency used). Ultrasound works some some applications, but the image is rather blurry unless you have a very expensive unit.

      I don't know if either is available in an inexpensive, low resolution hobbyist version. I'd bet there are some old units, two generations behind, on ebay. Now I'm off to Google for hobbyist radar .

      A tricorder which combines low-quality short- range radar, backscatter, infrared and ultrasound might be very useful - infrared would see pipes in the wall, maybe the combination of radar and ultrasound would show the studs, etc.

      • We're getting some good answers here. Since it has a screen like a phone, the "mode" button could change which program controlled how the input graphs were rendered, like OpenGL display lists in a game. The x-ray/backscatter method could have a red button and audibly beep when it's on to warn people. Maybe a mass spectrometer to sniff the air in front of it (and compare the results to a database of known sample patterns) would make it truly boss. If someone farted, the tricorder would have the answer.
    • Terahertz radar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2014 @09:08PM (#48032405) Homepage

      Low-cost terahertz radar imaging [wikipedia.org] is going to be very useful in handheld devices. You really can see a short distance into many materials. Great for seeing pipes and electrical wiring in walls. The day will come when that's a standard tool one buys at Home Depot.

      Until that's working, a cooled IR imager would be useful. Those are great for finding heat leaks in houses, but currently cost too much.

      • Soon to be nicknamed the 'Nudie-cam.'

        • by fhage ( 596871 )

          Soon to be nicknamed the 'Nudie-cam.'

          Obligatory (SFW) pic [modernsurvivalblog.com] worth 1K words. [Google image search result for "Terahertz imaging"].

          Note to self: THz-camo underwear market will be big. Get in early.

      • Yes but will it also be able to analyze composition? I don't want a temperature probe; I already have that. I want to scan my soil and discover the nitrogen content, phosphor content, etc.
    • For $10, you can buy a radar-equipped stud-finder and use it to locate the frame behind your sheetrock.

      Laser rangefinders can also locate distance to laser-reflective sources and there are many other similar technologies, such as those used in autofocus cameras.

      I don't know of any portable technology that could be used to find a broken bone without exposing people to ionizing radiation, but I'm sure we'll figure it out one day.

  • It would be really cool to see a Theremin-based monitor for this, like this site:

    https://www.googlesciencefair.com/projects/en/2014/04d4d5dd602bdab802a76b48c24b3e1e29679611a5bfa55c34ed4f40df8294cf

    They talk about being able to monitor more than just breathing with it.

  • This would be the holy grail for any kind of modern "ghost hunter", it does electromagnetic, thermal, radiation, infrared.. etc..

    Doesn't matter if they don't have a fucking clue how it actually works, it'll be a status symbol for the disenfranchised-with-reality crowd who love to play scientist.
    I used to be one of those people interested in ghost hunting, until I got more involved with it, and saw the sheer amount of wishful thinking, ignorance, and general lack of logic applied.

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