Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Water cooler biosphere prototypes

Last week I set about using old water cooler containers to build my prototype biospheres with multiple levels: Hydrosphere, Lithosphere and Atmosphere.

Empty water cooler containers are idea for building multi level biospheres as they fit together neatly, are large enough for creatures and come with a handle for easy transport.

I need to check out where I can get hold of lots of empty water cooler containers and also find out do they normally get reused by the company?

Photos of my prototypes to follow...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Social Networking websites: Earth Science

A vast number of scientific websites are full of far too much information that you can't take it all in.

Or they are poorly made:

A good example of a Network website for earth sciences is The Globe Program:

The GLOBE (Global learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program is a world-wide network of students, teachers and scienctists engaged in a tele-collaboration project to do meaningful real-life science. In the GLOBE Program,students make environmental observations and report their data findings on the internet. Scientists use the students' data to formulate amospheric models, then provide feedback to the students. The measurements conducted by the students include air temperature, cloud observations, precipitation, surface water temperature and pH, soil moisture, biometrics, land cover assessment and species identification. Students also share findings and communicate with other students using e-mail from the web site. GLOBE includes excellent descriptions of equipment and procedures for data acquisition and a user-friendly searchable data archive. The unique aspect of the GLOBE Program is that students are interactive partners with scientists.

Globe also provides a globe kit for $49 to schools:

Another way in which young scientist can share their results are through science fairs:

If you have a great question and decide to investigate further, how can you share your results? Sharing results is an essential part of the scientific method. If scientists didn’t share their work, how would we know what has already been done? Or what is already known?

A recent GLOBE Star, Justas Sidiskis of Lithuania, won second prize in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. He studied clouds, precipitation, and temperature using GLOBE data for his area and the GLOBE Atmosphere protocols. There are many other GLOBE protocols, which might also give you some ideas!

also a science blog is a great way to share results:

Students could take a photo of their biospheres then blog comments under it about why they think a change is happening:

Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception is also a good website:

Another good website:

Biosphere 2:

science experiments for kids website:

science website simple style:

Planetary Science Research Discoveries (PSRD), an online magazine in which planetary scientists are sharing their ideas and discoveries with a wide audience. But people will only get excited about these things if they know about them.

although too much text and complex:

On an experimental blog, a far-flung group of scientists can solve tough problems in weeks.
In the years ahead, we have an astonishing opportunity to reinvent discovery itself. But to do so, we must first choose to create a scientific culture that embraces the open sharing of knowledge.

online lab:
choose or make own hypothesis:
think/warm up questions then predict then test then discuss results.

Infographics: Tell stories with data on web:

Being able to communicate effectively is fundamental to successful collaboration in scientific research. The same is true of application or website design.communication and finding common ground
If we learn more about how scientists share concepts, and particularly the stories and vocabulary they use to do it, we can design more useful, usable applications to aid that research.

Chomp! children's game

The Fast and Furious Food Chain Card Game

Plunge into a fast-paced undersea world where life is survival of the quickest. Identify the lowest creature in the food chain then slap it before other players scarf it down.

Chomp! Is a great tool to help teach children about the food chain. Players learn about the hierarchy of ocean species through employing skills such as visual discrimination and sequencing.

water cooler prototype

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Self Cleaning Aquarium: zero electricity

NoClean Aquariums™... the Fastest, Easiest, Mess-Free &FUN way to have an Aquarium.

People love aquariums because of their soothing, natural beauty. They make a stunning addition to any home or office and are great for kids. The only drawback is the cleaning. It’s a dirty, messy time consuming chore.

So we set out to design an aquarium that breaks down these barriers so anyone can have a beautiful, fun-to-watch aquarium without the hassles.

Simply pour a glass of water in the aquarium and watch it clean itself. There is no need to remove the fish, ornaments or wash the gravel. Your hands won't even get wet. It’s so easy anyone can do it!

Great video good idea for making my own video to sell my invention!! through kickstarter

Monday, 16 January 2012

Arduino and sensors

Co2 sensor:

comment:I've always thought building a sealed enclosure where you could monitor and control CO2 / sunlight / soil moisture levels / weight of small plants would be really fun. Plants grow faster in elevated CO2 concentrations and making kind of a "plant laboratory" would be fun for nerds like me who enjoy statistics and number crunching. Putting together that kind of kit would be a fun project.

Also educative for schools!

It would be able to measure the air quality in the closed environment and show how healthy the system is. Oxygen sensors are apparently expensive. Could show when system is in danger if too much co2.

The more oxygen in system the better.

Co2 sensor for £9.95

Google Translate

Co2 interface

Computer-Controlled Air Conditioner | Moving Forward

co2 sensor code:


although co2 sensors seem quite expensive

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Gas Sensor

Mushroom Environment Control - Arduino Powered

Co2 figaro sensors seem reasonable price: Carbon dioxide sensor?? http://www.figarosensor.com/products/4161pdf.pdf

Ph sensor:

for $25 at Store

arduino ph ,orp atlas - Reef Central Online Community

pHloat2 DIY acidic water testing sculpture & kit with arduino

Arduino PH/ORPDuino Proto Shield - YouTube

phduino - pH meter using Arduino board for glass electrode. - Google Project Hosting

Temperature sensor:

Digital Temperature Sensor Breakout - TMP102 from Cool Components

Humidity and temperature sensor:

Humidity and Temperature Sensor - SHT15 Breakout from Cool Components

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Insight from water snails

From the research of the insight sheet about one of my participants watching snails and seeing the movement of the snails and through that movement understood when the biosphere was failing and eventually died.

I came up without the idea of tracking the snails as the move around the biosphere. in order to see changes within the biosphere and act as a control and monitor all changes within the biosphere. As once the snail dies the system dies so you can see when your biospheres system is under threat when the snails start to slow down or die.

The computer will do most of the recording so that observations can be made later by the user.

From this I went on to make a rough drawn up prototype of the device.

Which would consist of the the biosphere which would monitor the movement of the snails as well as the temperature, ph and any other important monitoring factors. The biosphere would be also monitored by a web cam so that the overall view of the biosphere could be recorded along side the movement of the snails.

Then all data would be fed to a website where the biosphere could be monitored and seen by others all over the world.

The device would be open source so people could use it to study biospheres how they wanted and also add to the website and also build new modules and work out different ways of monitoring all life forms within the biosphere.

It will be called open source biosphere.

snails seemed the easiest to track as I could paint them or stick a tracker on their shell without too much trouble

and then looked at how I could track/ monitor snail activity electronically:

I thought about a motion detecting camera but thought at night that would be difficult to see

I then thought a thermal camera and looked at various ways this could be done:

Thermitrack allows real time thermal tracking which can be connected to a mac or arduino through usb.

Thermitrack - Thermal imaging tracking camera

Although I later found out that snails are cold blooded so are probably the same temp as water so back to the drawing board.

I started to look ar Rfid tags like that which are used for pets such as cats and dogs and then found out scientist from Princeton university were using tiny rfid tags to track dragon flies over long distances so surely I could do something similar on a smaller scale with snails.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tiny tags trace dragonfly paths

The data revealed that the dragonflies' migration patterns are strikingly similar to those of songbirds, suggesting there is a strong evolutionary link to their behaviours.
The detailed flight path information was made possible by tiny radio transmitters developed by the team.Each transmitter weighed about a third of a gram and had enough battery life to track an individual for 10 days; but tagging such small creatures is far from easy.Once caught, each transmitter was attached with a couple of drops of superglue and some eye-lash adhesive.
In the future, the team hopes to refine its techniques and make the tracking even more hi-tech."If you had a satellite like that you could [follow the migration of] all kinds of birds, dragonflies, and locusts; and, I think, it would shed tremendous light on the movements of these organisms."

I found this picture of a Paper wasp with RFID tag attached by the Zoological society of London.

For entomology this could prove a valuable research into insect dispersal studies, migration, colony relationships, and added authority to the science of forensic entomology.

The university of Bristol is using tiny Rfid tags to monitor ants movements, these rfid tags are so small that two thousand would fit on a postage stamp. Radio-Wearing Insects - Tiny RFID Transponders Track Ant Nesting Tactics for Science (VIDEO)

Next I thought about what if snails shed their shells? they might loose their tags over time. Although I found out that they dont shed their shells they just extend them when they grow. So that will work.
Growing shell


Next I decided to look into how small I can purchase Rfid tags and also how much they would cost:

Hitachi is producing tiny rfid tags

Hitachi Achieves 0.05-mm Square Super Micro RFID Tag, 'Further Size Reductions in Mind' -- Tech-On!

A variety of different liquid and edible rfid tags:

Rfid powder tags:

Small rfid tags I can buy:
12.25mm by 1.93mm can be measured from a distance of 10mm
and rfid reader

Other small rfid tags:

Question about RFID tracking ants:

Passive RFID tags only work when they come in contact with an RFID reader

Once Ive got the RFID tags how can I work out their location?
RFID Radar gives precise measurement. This was used by to locate trolleys precisley to 1 millimteter. http://www.rfid-radar.com/relaccuracy.pdf

This system would be a bit like this megalab:

Reliable and cost sensible RFID monitoring for insects:

More info about the ants with RFID tags:

Until I can get hold of RFID tags I can test the motion through just using stickers then use a grid reference then put into computer. Can add more and more data later like temperature, Ph levels and oxygen levels.

One of the first electronic meters I can create is a Ph meter which is a good measurement of how healthy a biosphere is.

Ideally my project would sustain and support complex life systems so they can be in close proximity to the user.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Video earth from space: top of outlook tower design

It's amazing how well the cameras pick up the light of the cities below. The world looks like a living organism.

could i slow down and use this for the top of my outlook tower?

Could do it with ice flows, from macro of an icicle melting to ice flows then top of tower showing the ice flows melting from space and clouds and algae blooms: like video below:

lots of videos from nasa space station: The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Phenomenological: relating to experiences: Goethe

(phenomenological) relating to experiences; phenomenological research emphasizes the importance of how people experience and feel things