Public Lab Research note

Working Oil Testing Event Guide

by stevie | August 13, 2014 22:04 13 Aug 22:04 | #11046 | #11046

This post is a working document on the developing Oil Testing Kit Event Guide. I expect it to change and adapt as we refine our techniques. Please post comments and feedback. This is the event structure we followed for the Oil Testing Event on 7/31/14.

Oil Testing Exploration Event

Resources Needed:

  • 4 long tables and a chairs
  • 4 Computers
  • 3 Working specs to attach to the computers with enclosing boxes (what you can fit the spec and your sample in to scan it in a dark space, make a hole for the laser to go through) (These can also be cell phone specs)
  • 10 or so collection bottles (pre filled with mineral oil)
  • stickers to label your samples
  • swabs for the samples
  • 4-5 uv lasers
  • markers and pens
  • sticky notes
  • 4 poster boards
  • gloves
  • paper towels
  • a camera (to document)
  • news paper (to protect your table)
  • bio jar
  • paper research notes
  • ***If you want to make available for people to work on developing their own spec designs you will need materials such as: scissors, exacto knives, glue, tape, a plastic board to cut on and chip board. (we had these materials but found that everyone was more interested in working with the existing specs)

Setting up the event:

Setting up the room:

1) Line up the four tables with room for people to work on either side of them. Put up a poster board behind each table with the words “Notes, Questions and Ideas” and label them in order additionally with: Construct, Collect, Scan, Compare. 2) Put post-its, markers and pens on each table. 3) Put copies of the hand written research notes on each table for people to include more in depth information on what they explored. 4) Put a few chairs around each table (some people do prefer to stand and work especially around the first table).

Set up the 4 tables:


Table 1: This is where people can work to construct a spectrometer. This is where you would have your construction materials set out and any spec kits you have that can be assembled (cell phone or desktop). This is also where I had a spec kit laid out in order of how you would put it together showing each stage of construction (with the folded part already folded etc.).


Table 2: This is where you prepare your samples. The sample preparation table has the following materials: 10 or so collection bottles (pre-filled with mineral oil), stickers to label your samples, swabs for the samples, bio jar, gloves, paper towels, newspaper (to protect your table), a UV laser, optional samples that are already prepared.


Table 3: This is where you can scan your samples. Set up two computers on this table with two built spectrometers and boxes to scan. Get them logged on to spectral workbench.


Table 4: This is where people can compare samples. This table is similar to the previous one, people can scan them and compare them at this table. (We generally found that the computers and scanning took up a good bit of space so people did both steps at both of these tables.)


Event Structure:

Introduce the Event: 1) Introduce yourself, why you are interested in this project and a little bit about Public Lab. 2) Emphasise that the tools, technology and event structure is currently being developed and that the outcomes of this event are to explore all three and make them better. 4) Identify that we will walk through how you would do this at each stage together and then people can break off and work on pieces of it they find most interesting, this will allow for people to really delve into the different aspects of the project. 5) Highlight the posters, markers and sticky pads available for people to put up their questions, comments, ideas and things they explored while they were there.

Walk through the stages of the process: (a more thorough walk through can be found on this page) 1) At the first table you can explain a little bit about spectrometry, how you can use it to identify samples. 2) Walk through how you would build a spectrometer with your layed out version. 3) At the Second table, walk through how you would prepare a sample (you can demonstrate this). 4) Use the laser to test if your sample is floressing, if it needs to be diluted or made stronger etc. 5) At the third table, show how you would scan a sample. 6) Point out tools on spectral workbench, the flip and the compare functions especially.

Jump in:

Invite people to pick a table, a part in the process they are most interested in and delve into that they find on it. Remind them to experiment, take notes on the poster board and on their research notes and to have a good time! Don’t forget to take pictures. They help with documenting your event and the processes.


Go over what people are exploring, review with everyone what people have posted on the boards or wrote on their research notes. Allow people to take the notes with them if they want to do an online write up, but be sure to photograph them first just in case! Be sure to thank everyone for coming and invite them to your next event!

After your event:

Take pictures of the posters. Scan in the hand written research notes that you collected. Document what you explored in your event in a Public Lab Research Note include your pictures. Don’t forget to tag it with the tags: #spectrometer, #workshop, #oil-response-toolkit, #oil-testing-kit

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People who did this (2)


Great start -- what about paper research notes?

I was thinking it'd be neat to show the four tables in a diagram, kind of:


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Sure, I can add that in there.

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re-created this excellent note as a wiki page for collaborative editing and development:

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