Public Lab is an open community which collaboratively develops accessible, open source, Do-It-Yourself technologies for investigating local environmental health and justice issues.
Mini Balloon Kit
The Mini Balloon Kit is based around [the 36 inch wide mylar foil balloons](/notes/patcoyle/09-07-2015/mobius-non-fish-eye-and-small-lifter-wrapup) found by contributor @patcoyle -- which are much cheaper (as little as $3 each!), and can stay inflated for over a week. They fit in the back seat of your car, or can be taken on the subway. Heck, unlike the big red rubber balloons, they fit through a doorway and can be stored indoors. They do lift much less than our standard rubber weather balloons, however -- see below for more!
We carry this kit (and extra balloons) in the Public Lab store:
* 2-3 [36 inch mylar balloon](https://www.brodys8004balloons.com/34_inch_36_inch_Round_Foil_s/770.htm) (or [from BallonsDirect](http://www.balloonsdirect.com/catalog/solid-color-foil-mylar-balloons/solid-color-round-foil-balloons/36-inch-round-foil-balloons))
* 1000 feet of 50-pound kite string
* carabiners, zip-ties, other clips and such to attach it all together
* a camera that [weighs less than 60 grams](/q/14219)
Each can lift about 50 grams -- vs. the classic kit’s 300+, and a little more if there’s perfectly calm weather. Instead of renting a helium tank, you can fill them at a florists’ shop or party store, and shuttle them to where you’ll do your mapping. They also hold up a bit better to sunlight and rough handling, although they’re still delicate. This kit includes everything from the [classic Balloon Mapping Kit](/wiki/balloon-mapping), but uses smaller mylar balloons, and uses lighter (50 lb test) weight string.
We’ve [collected a list range of cameras](/q/14219) -- like the Mobius camera we already sell -- light enough to work with 2-3 of these. With a lighter option, that means you'll have a spare balloon.
But there are remaining questions and refinements to make on this kit -- that’s why we’re calling it a **Prototyping Kit** -- and, just like the original Balloon Mapping Kit, we’re going to collaboratively work on these issues by sharing knowledge on the Public Lab website.
Also see posts on #kite-balloon-hybrid for some interesting ideas!