Open Source Tricorder

Posted by Sam Churchill on

That $10 million Tricorder X-Prize from Qualcomm, to create an instrument similar to the ones used on Star Trek, got a step closer today, when Dr. Peter Jansen released the designs for his Mk 2 Tricorder, making all the specifics open source.

Dr. Jansen’s Mark 2 runs on Linux. The hardware includes an ARM Atmel microcontroller squeezed into a clam-shell with two OLED touchscreens. Schematics, board layouts, and the firmware is all available free and includes the initial proof-of-concept device.

The tricorders need six AAA to run and include sensors for temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light, distance and even magnetic fields. Dr. Jansen’s hope is to make scientists out of everyone.

The Tricorder X-Prize aims to bring a diverse array of inexpensive sensors together in an accessible, easy to use, handheld design. On Jan 12, 2012, the contest was officially opened at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Early entrants to the competition include Silicon Valley startups Scanadu and Senstore.

Wikidata, a machine-readable, user-editable database is Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing, says TechCrunch. The project has been funded By Google, Paul Allen and others.

Ward Cunningham, who developed the first wiki is the chief technology officer for CitizenGlobal, a place where people can create stories together using photos, video, and music. Cunningham is Nike’s first Code for a Better World Fellow.

Ward Cunningham’s goal is to do for data what Wikipedia did for text – enabling the sharing and collaboration of data.

Ward’s latest project is to publish field data from the Nike Community Garden as part of his work on the “Smallest Federated Wiki” (project videos). Russell Senior, President of Portland’s PersonalTelco, helped by providing WiFi connections to garden sensors. Here’s his installation with the garden in the distance.

Ward shows an Arduino micro controller collecting data from various sensors and publishing it as a federated wiki page.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 8:37 am .

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