Public Lab Research note

Photosynq - Preparing for the Open Hardware Summit

by gbathree | August 13, 2013 19:18 13 Aug 19:18 | #8997 | #8997

The Open Hardware Summit is coming up on September 6th at MIT, and we will be presenting our first working beta unit...

... if we get it done on time :)

There's so much to do!!! Robert and I are working on the Photosynq device itself - Robert has one iteration of the board finished with lessons learned and are working on the next iteration which we hope to have in next week. I'm working on creating the case, which is tricky because we need tight tolerances on the location of the detector, LEDs and light guide, yet we also need the ability to 'clamp' a leaf in front of the detector, and (ideally) the whole design should be easy to assemble, and 3d printable and/or laser cutterable (if that's a word). For hinges, I'm using standard alligator clips for the hinges and it works pretty darn well! The first design is ugly but basically functional (yes, the board is not populated... we were just using it for layout) - here's some pictures.

Venturit is working to finish the website and database using Ruby on Rails (similar to Spectral Workbench from Public Labs), so we can store, display, and analyze the data through the web. They're also creating an API to communicate with the app. They are rocking it out and expect to be done on time.

We handing off a bluetooth enabled prototype to Talia this week, so she can get her app to talk to our device. We're using Bluesmirf Silver from Sparkfun for the moment, though we'll go with a cheaper bluetooth unit in the long term. We can already communicate with the device using a smartphone using Blueterm, but that's just a serial communication and doesn't look very pretty.

And finally, we need some good experiments to run for the initial beta and to show off the unit at OHS... I put down a few ideas from various folks at the wiki under the heading "Educational Modules" - if you've got any other thoughts feel free to send me an email.

If you're going to OHS please stop by and check us out - hope to see you then!


Wow, looks great and I'm eager to see the software as well! I'll be at the OHS... see you there!

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Hi Greg - do you have any code online yet?

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We do, I just put up the Arduino code - - see the "Arduino Protocols" repository. It's still very under development, but the most recent code is working well.

It only has fluorescence measurements as part of it and it's a bit messy (I'm not a coder by nature, so I could use some lessons in improving my code comments...). I also made a program to combine many different output data files together for the photobioreactor, otherwise for longer experiments you can have way too many files to process manually. Next step is to add code to take measurements with the CO2 sensor, temp/humidity, and light sensor.

Venturit, the company working on the website, and Talia who's doing the app are both going to post their code on the website soon (I've told them to do it and they have access, they just haven't put it up yet).

We tried to fork but the guys doing the website felt it would be easier to start from scratch. It'll be pretty similar in the end, though, and I think that there'll still be a lot of usable code between the two.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


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