Environment Monitoring Hackathon China 2016

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Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab offers space, access and funding for different open-source hardware as well as support to the makers community in their start-up initiative through collaboration with multiple partners. Seeed Studio is one of the biggest open-source hardware manufacturing firm in China and India Open Data Association is a community driven open-data platform which is working towards making open-data projects sustainable in India. Together they have organized an Environment Monitoring Hackathon Event (2016) in China.

  • Event Details: This event is open for all and anyone who wishes to join can do so. The invitation can be accessed here.

Webcast Access: Link

  • About the Event:

The event is all about building a community driven initiative where different makers from the maker community can join in and help in developing different hardware components and tools which are simple, scalable, cost effective and can be easily used to measure different environmental parameters that can help in generating awareness amongst the people and drive them to take the necessary action. Since the idea is to attract different communities together for this initiative, the emphasis is being made towards introducing hardware which are based on DIY principle.

  • Activities Involved

The event is scheduled for 11th June, 2016 from 10:00 AM in the morning to 06:00 PM in the evening. The event will start with a presentation by key delegates such as Ulrike Reinhard, David Lee, etc on the idea of open-data and why is it significant to properly address the issue of growing environmental concerns, especially air pollution.

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session on the future scope of this initiative and how the maker community can help in building a space where all the enthusiastic people can come and actively participate in this initiative.

The event will conclude with a workshop on sensors and environment monitoring devices, hosted by Mrutyunjay Mishra where the current environment monitoring devices created by IODA will be demonstrated, the future opportunities for hardware innovation for the makers will be shared and different makers will be encouraged to help in developing innovative components that can offer better hardware solutions for addressing the environmental concerns.

  • Why Important For IODA?

The event will be important to IODA for the following reasons:

a) It will help IODA in connecting with a wider maker community.

b) It will help in creating a knowledge space for different components and hardware that exist and to what extent they can be utilized in terms of environment assessment like air-quality etc.

c)It will help IODA in showcasing its designed environment monitoring device called AirOwl based on DIY and how similar or other different devices on the same principle can be created to measure multiple different parameters of the environment.

d) It will help different individuals in understanding the purpose of this initiative and convince them to offer their support in its growth.

  • Key Opportunities for the Makers:

Some of the opportunities that the makers can explore not just for AirOwl per se but for every air-quality monitoring devices that exist globally are:

  • Hardware Related

a) Deciding the Controller(Component):

The opportunity of creating such a hardware setup that can easily measure multiple different environmental parameters without too much issue in terms of programming. The hardware should also have the feature of designing an easy AP. Currently there are hardware components which either have a difficult AP programming or no AP at all. As a result most of the hardware enthusiasts have to struggle in creating a new AP. This was the process can be a lot smoother and faster.

Apart from that the controller should have the capability of integrating multiple different sensors for environment measurement.

b) Single board with WIFI integration:

Currently for AirOwl we have used a nanochip with WIFI capability. If any enthusiastic maker can help in designing a board which has an inbuilt WIFI feature and also at the same time an easy mode of programming then it can help in creating better devices with less component requirement and better cost-effectiveness.

c) Better Gas Sensor integration:

There is a dire need for high accuracy gas sensors which can be easily integrated with an open-source development board. For instance, the multi-gas sensor by Seeed Studio is one of the examples.

At the same time there is also a need for individual high accuracy gas sensor compatible development boards which have a good number of software libraries. This way the components can be easily integrated with very little programming involved.

d) Hardware life-cycle:

Currently the life-cycle of the sensors has not been properly tested as a result, there is no actual time upto which the sensors can guarantee continuous performance. There is a need for designing of sensors which have a longer operating life and which can be easily calibrated so in case if there is any performance issue, the component can be replaced via plug an play logic.

Also the documentation on testing of the components and sensors should be made open on a single platform for easy access and understanding.

  • Software

a) Uniform API Platform:

The API for the data should have a single platform which can be developed further by integrating additional attributes and parameters about the environment and at the same time can provide the scope for its easy modification.

b) Universal UI Element:

Every pollution parameter needs to be displayed in the most simplest and easy to understand manner for a user. There is a need to create universal UI elements for each parameter that can depict a common meaning about the environment. For instance, there is a common symbol for identifying WIFI capability or Bluetooth feature. If each environmental parameter has a uniform symbol then a common knowledge base can be created globally.

  • Event Pictures: