Winners have just been announced for Hackaday’s Earth Day Challenge. We were on the lookout for projects that raise awareness of environmental issues and are happy to celebrate three top winners. Each have won a $200 shopping spree from Digi-Key who sponsored this contest.
Pictured above is the Open Flow Meter by [Eben]. The build includes sensors that are submerged into a river or stream to gauge the speed at which the water is moving. It uses a commodity plumbing flow volume sensor to help reduce costs, adding an Arduino and touch screen for reading the sensors and providing a UI to the user.
High-altitude balloons are used for air quality and weather sensing. To make those sensor packages more reusable, [Hadji Yohan] has been working on a parachute recovery system that automatically returns to a set GPS point. It’s a parafoil with auto-pilot!
Power harvesting is a fascinating and tricky game. To help ease the transition away from batteries, [Jasper Sikken] developed a solar harvesting module that charges a Lithium Ion Capacitor (LIC) from a very small solar panel. Based around a 100 uF 30 F capacitor, it uses an AEM10941 energy harvesting chip which includes Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) to utilize the solar panel as efficiently as possible. The fully charged module can output regulated 2.2 V and is aimed at distributed sensor packages that can be run without any battery at all.
How far do you have to go for a glass of clean water? Not very? Just go to a sink and turn on the faucet? We would venture to guess that is the case for most Hackaday readers. Maybe you even have a water softener, or a filter on your tap to make your drinking water even more palatable and free of heavy metal.
In Ethiopia and many other countries, people do not have access to clean, flowing water and must walk several kilometers to fetch it from somewhere that does. And they’re not doing this on paved roads, either — these women are cutting treacherous paths across mountains and through muddy, rocky terrain that make wheeled transport nearly impossible. How do you comfortably lug around 25 kg (~55 lbs) worth of sloshing water? You don’t, unless you have [Anteneh Gashaw]’s ingenious jerrycan.
As you can see in the video below, the current crop of jerrycans are just big plastic jugs that have to be carried on top of the head or the shoulder, both of which are bad for bodies. [Anteneh]’s can evenly distributes the weight by wrapping it completely around the person carrying it and suspending it from both shoulders like a beer-and-peanuts vendor’s carrying case. Basically, it’s a PVC inner tube with shoulder straps. Simple, cheap, and effective = absolute genius in our book. Ideally, everyone would have free access to clean water, both cold and hot. Until that time, [Anteneh]’s entry into our Earth Day Challenge is a great workaround that will no doubt save a lot of spines.
The Earth Day Challenge is now under way! Spin up your take on an Earth-Day-themed electronics project and you’ll be in the running for one of the three $200 shopping sprees at Digi-Key, who are sponsoring this contest.
This is all about raising awareness for environmental protection. You might considered something as direct as measuring and plotting air quality data, or as abstract as weighing your home’s recycling bin and garbage bin and making a game out of generating less waste in general, and boosting your recycling-to-landfill ratio. Find an application that can be moved from grid-power to solar power, or build a carbon-savings counter that calculates the impact you have when choosing your bike over a car. The coolest projects are the ones that make us all think in new ways.
In addition to those $200 prizes for the top three projects, there are $50 Tindie gift cards for the twelve most artistically presented projects. Digi-Key is looking for great images to include in a wall calendar for 2022.
Pop over to Hackaday.io to start your entry today. Don’t forget to use the “Submit project to:” drop-down box on the left sidebar of your project page to make sure it’s considered in the contest. You must have your entry in by April 19th!