Ever wanted to be able to launch a balloon into space, track its location via GPS, take some photographs of the curvature of the earth, and recover the balloon, all for the low low cost of $150? [Oliver Yeh] sent in his teams project, Icarus, which does just that. The group of MIT students found that they could use a weather balloon filled with helium to reach heights of around 20 miles above the earth; their particular balloon achieved 93,000 feet (17.5 miles). Then, utilizing only off the shelf components with no soldering, conjured up a GPS tracker using a Motorola i290 Prepaid Cellphone. They then used a Canon A470 loaded with the chdk open source firmware to take pictures. After seeing the results of their launch, the team hopes that this could rejuvenate interests in science and the arts.
Another Cornell final project, Weather Canvas aims to make watching the weather a little more pleasant. Data is captured via a thermometer, humidity sensor, anemometer, and a Hotwheels radar gun turned precipitation sensor. Once it’s captured, it’s transmitted to the LED matrix inside which displays pretty patterns to convey the weather conditions. They have set images, like icons, that mean different things.
This weather monitor can track pressure, temperature, and humidity and last several months on a pack of AA batteries. It has a PIC18f452 to control all the bits, as well as some fancy power management to get the most out of the batteries as possible. The screen displays the highest and lowest temperatures of the last 42 hours as well as having options to display all other sensor input, updated every minute or so. You can get the full schematic and parts list on the project site.
I spent part of my weekend with some sort of stomach virus, so Eliot stepped in for me yesterday. I’m taking next week off, so we’ll have a special guest starting Friday – but I’m not revealing who just yet.
[Fickara] sent in his AVR interface(in Italian) for an Oregon Scientific remote weather station. Thanks to the AVR, data is output via RS232. There are quite a few less expensive weather stations – usually PC output models are over $100, so this could be pretty handy. His page has several other projects including an oscope clock, POV on a stick, etc.