Public Lab Wiki documentation

Tool development timeline

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This is an attempt to chart the development of a Public Lab tool in general terms. Some people have also volunteered to explore and expand on these stages in longer articles; their names are listed below.

Many steps may occur earlier or later; we're just trying to better understand them and get better at the process. Feel free to add/revise:

A. Sandbox

Problem Definition

  • Propose, state problem, invite collaboration
  • Explore relevance to Public Lab mission
  • Propose testable solutions
  • Adam

B. Early Adopter

Tools: Estrogen sensing, Air column monitoring

Proof of Concept

  • Shared early documentation - beginning of open sourcing
  • Home or Lab prototype demonstrating basic idea
  • Page describing the tool and it's intent and context
  • Consider cost issues
  • Sara

Tools: H2S sensor, Indoor air-quality mapping

Develop a network of collaborators

  • Find a community of like interest, like Coral growers or DIY Bio
  • Host exploratory hackathons
  • Create a distributable prototype- one that can be shipped to people
  • Liz

Tools: Thermal Flashlight

Produce documentation

  • Consider who can make one and how easily
  • Legibility of documentation, completeness of parts list & codebase
  • Liz

C. Using Tools and Doing Science

Tools: Spectrometer

Refining and using tools regularly

  • The "build it and leave it" problem at workshops
  • Building experience with a tool and its limitations
  • Small retail circulation of kits to jumpstart community
  • Shannon

Tools: Near-infrared camera

Lifecycle: develop a defined path from raw data to results

  • Begin to develop helpful software
  • Developing a "Hello World" for people to aim for as their first attempt
  • Compare and contrast results and improve & refine tool
  • Calibrating and comparing to existing tools
  • Jeff

D. Scaling and outreach

Tools: Balloon & Kite Mapping

When to go big

  • Developing retail kits to get people started quickly
  • Support data analysis and understanding with in-depth documentation
  • How-to guides, YouTube videos
  • Mathew

Credibility and Outcomes

  • Build credibility for process and results
  • Develop case studies
  • Get quantitative
  • Stewart