Public Lab Wiki documentation

Kits Initiative

9 | 85 | | #99

How the Public Lab Kits Initiative is Responding to COVID-19

The Public Lab Kits Initiative exists for many reasons but, above all, we exist to serve our community by getting tools into the hands of those who need them. We wanted to take a moment to provide an update on how COVID-19 has affected our operations and what changes you can expect in the near future.

As we move through this time of uncertainty, the health and safety of our team is a top priority. As you may have previously seen, our fulfillment was temporarily suspended. Our New Orleans-based staff is working from home, and will continue to do so until we determine that returning to our physical office is in line with public health recommendations. However, we have been able to begin fulfilling some of our kits again. Here’s what you can expect from us:

  • We will have a limited range of products available. These include:
  • We’re moving to no-contact shipping, which means you’ll see a change in available shipping services.
  • We will only ship orders out one day per week to encourage physical distancing. While we cannot guarantee shipping dates at this time, you may see a delay of up to five business days between when you place your order and when it ships.
  • We will continue to ship around the world, where permitted.

We will continue to update our community as the situation progresses and we appreciate your support of Public Lab. During this time of physical distancing, we want to invite all Public Lab community members to take part in our virtual community spaces, such as weekly Open Calls and our live builds coming soon. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the most up-to-date community news and events.

For the most up to date information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak,

-The Public Lab Kits Team

Public Lab works to "level the data playing field,” making it possible for people to issue rigorously collected, high-quality, local environmental datasets for use alongside government data for verification and advocacy. We do this by building curriculum, hardware, and software; providing space for research and development; and bringing tools to maturity, making them field ready. The Kits Initiative is part of this effort.

The Kits Initiative creates, assembles, and distributes kits from the open research designs of the Public Lab community to foster and develop the reach of open, accessible science, by placing tools in the hands of those that need them. The main goal of the program is to support the scaling up of development and production of kits to enable thousands more people to produce their own environmental data and continue to shape these technologies.

The Kits Initiative helps distribute our community's kits around the world through the Public Lab Store, where revenue directly supports the Public Lab nonprofit:

Visit the Public Lab Store site   or see Methods on this site

Schools, teachers, and institutions can contact for details on reduced shipping costs and bulk orders.

Community Kits

Our Community Kits program is designed to support the creation of new tools, kits and resources by inviting designers, developers, researchers, tinkerers, community organizers, inventors (and anyone else who is interested) to consider working with the Public Lab Kits Initiative to develop, produce and distribute your open source research tools!

Over the next few months we'll be working with a handful of people to source new affordable, DIY, open source environmental monitoring kits in our store: expanding resources and opportunities to help people get involved with community science.

We have built the infrastructure to help connect environmental research kits to communities who need them, and we'd love to partner with you to help put tools in the hands of even more people.

Read more about our Community Kits program here

Read what you need to participate here

Working through the open process allows for helpful feedback, quick design iteration, and sharing of ideas. Additionally, incubating with us provides access to the Public Lab brand, customer base, and production/distribution infrastructure. Public Lab Kits Initiative staff provide necessary support for kit distribution, including promotion of the tool in our online store, organizing payments, and shipping.

Questions about Community Kits

Through our hosting program, we seek to help develop new and novel kits, guides, and curriculum to engage over 10,000 participants in production of their own civic data. In doing so, we seek to add to a growing catalog of innovative tools, with an ever-broadening reach and accessibility.

General Kits Questions

About sourcing, troubleshooting, etc!

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
WHATS THE PRICE OF THE SPECTROMETER 3? @dwhite01 over 4 years ago 1
Can anyone tell what is wrong with my coqui? @stevie over 5 years ago 13
How do the new webcam @stinge_nz about 6 years ago 14
Do a DVD is provided with the LEGO kit ? ty ! @adamsanta over 6 years ago 1
Since spectrometer webcam kits are sold out, which would work/what would you recommend? @Metamer over 6 years ago 3
What is "immersion oil" for microscopes? @warren over 6 years ago 8
Can these filter packages be adapted to Raspberry Pi cameras? @sjmanosalvas over 6 years ago 3
What are materials we could include in a Kite Making Materials Pack? @warren over 6 years ago 5
buying Infragram filter pack in UK @ruya over 6 years ago 1
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren over 6 years ago 3
Does anyone know if a sensor lending library exists? @zengirl2 over 6 years ago 5
What are design guidelines or constraints we aspire to at Public Lab? @warren over 6 years ago 1
How big is the filter in the infragram DIY filter pack? @robotfarms almost 7 years ago 3
Does anyone know where I can get a new usb connector for my spectrometer 3.0 ? @programmer1200 almost 7 years ago 3
What are good sources of cheap bulk giant mylar balloons? @warren almost 7 years ago 1
How to build an efficient workflow for small-scale kit manufacturing? @kgradow1 almost 7 years ago 1
Where can we bulk purchase new carbon fiber mapping poles? @warren almost 7 years ago 1
Assembly completed but the camera doesn't work. @1987123 about 7 years ago 4


Prototyping kits

Prototyping Kits offered by the Public Lab Kits Initiative are in-development kits which we send out for people to help prototype and experiment with, in order to refine and improve. These help support the development of new techniques for monitoring environmental problems. We call these Prototyping Kits and they come with a list of challenges and problems to solve.

Read more about Prototyping Kits


Since 2012 Public Lab has been developing low cost, open source and user-modifiable kits. By providing low cost accessible kits to the public, we seek to support a growing number of communities in creating a collaborative network of practitioners generating knowledge and data about environmental health. Since 2013 Public Lab kits have been shipped to over 71 different countries and connected thousands of community members.

Contact us

The Public Lab Kits Initiative is a part of the Public Lab Nonprofit which distributes open hardware kits to support the Public Lab community. The Kits Initiative is based out of Public Lab's Providence, Rhode Island office.

To reach the Kits Initiative team, email For help with orders placed, please email or call us between 9am and 5pm EST at 503-902-5874

Kits resources

In the spirit of open source, here are a lot of the docs and files we use for the everyday running of the Kits initiative: