Public Lab Research note

Ideas from the $400 and $200 Kickstarter backers on how they will use the spectrometer

by Shannon | December 13, 2012 20:58 13 Dec 20:58 | #5189 | #5189

We asked each of the Kickstarter backer levels what they plan to do once they receive their spectrometer. Backers at the $400 level are receiving both the mini-foldable spectrometer and the desktop spectrometer next week (as well as the countertop and mobile spectrometers in February). Backers at the $200 level are receiving the educational six-pack of desktop spectrometers. Here's some of the ideas that people listed from the two backer tier.

Responses from other backer levels: $10 backer level $35 backer level $100 backer level

Related to light

  • The elematary school will be using it as part of the light and shadow learning modules in grade 3/4.

Related to Water and Soil

  • analyze soil organic matter and mineralogy, plant nutrients
  • Water and plant extract samples
  • Soil sampling in archaeology
  • There are two environmental groups in Puerto Rico I work with & support which can use the spectrometers to monitor water quality pursuant to the care & restoration of coral reefs: Grupo VIDAS & Coral Reef Investigation & Conservation Alliance
  • Geotechnical applications

Related to Food and Drink

  • Test coffee with it!
  • What's in our food?
  • Foodstuff testing
  • Analyze food spectra

Related to Household items

  • Printing (Ink analysis, Paper analysis, Brightener detection)
  • Ink development
  • Analysing construction material samples

Related to biology and chemistry

  • Mineral identification
  • See how well it works in plant stress research
  • Vegetation condition. Chlorophyll and nitrogen content of leaves. Leaf structural composition.
  • Examine feces
  • Identify plastics for recycling through 3D printer

Related to Chemicals (general)

  • Due to time constraints will be playing with an eye toward contaminants and sediments
  • Testing at various oil and gas sites
  • Industrial Chemical Analysis

Related to Education

  • Teach the uses of spectrometry
  • Teach the younger people in my family what science can do and why it is important.
  • I plan to use the gear in my (public) science talks and workshops at educational conferences and my astronomy club.
  • We plan to test them, verify its functioning and then donate it to an educational institute's laboratory.
  • Use it for demonstrations/teaching tool
  • Incorporate them into teaching & learning
  • Doing inquiry with middle/high school students.
  • One for the husband, one for the kids and four for the school in Oakland, CA


  • Geeking out :)
  • Photography
  • Sending it to Zimbabwe....


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