Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DIY Air Quality Balloons

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the excellent-for-weddings dept.

Hardware Hacking 44

An anonymous reader writes "A few students at Carnegie Mellon University outfitted weather balloons with air quality sensors, resulting in huge glowing balloons that respond to surrounding air quality. Their Instructables page shows that pretty much anyone can make these using a PIC, a tri-colored LED, and some off-the-shelf air quality sensors (about $10 each): 'This Instructable will show you how to make giant, super cool, glowing balloons that react to surrounding air quality. Inside each balloon is a tri-colored LED. This LED reacts to data from an air quality sensor, turning green, yellow or red based on low, average, and high values.'"

cancel ×

44 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

frist psot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33171294)

cheap vaporware ain't my thing

What is Air Quality? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33171314)

Pollen? Cyanide content? Instant death fumes? CO? Weak article.

Re:What is Air Quality? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171346)

Air concentrations of the BLACKLIGHT virus.

This implementation has the advantage of being minigame-resistant.

Re:What is Air Quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33172128)

Wouldn't that be REDLIGHT? Only the "hero" is infected with actual BLACKLIGHT, but all the zombies and hunters are infected by Greene's strain. IIRC, of course!

Re:What is Air Quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33173150)

Don't they in practice pretty much only detect the 'hero', though?

Re:What is Air Quality? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33173966)

No need to worry lieutenant, the BLACKLIGHT sensors are currently indicating no alarm. Let's have a private chat about this just out of view of the other soldiers.

Re:What is Air Quality? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171414)

Your choice of testing for volatile organics or for exhaust fumes.

Re:What is Air Quality? (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171464)

Poor air quality can usually be described as "there are way too many balloons up there."

Re:What is Air Quality? (1, Funny)

zhong-guo (1872764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171724)

you americans thing your so smarter with these stuffs. china is rolling you all, grow a brain. Balloons? china has superior sensors for this and you think this is for stealing this? Dust! we look behind and you fight everyone when we are winning and you do not know. so weak.

Re:What is Air Quality? (3, Funny)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171942)

Aren't you supposed to be making plastic crap for us?

GET BACK TO WORK CHAIRMAN, NOW!

Re:What is Air Quality? (1)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172790)

you americans thing your so smarter with these stuffs. china is rolling you all, grow a brain. Balloons? china has superior sensors for this and you think this is for stealing this? Dust! we look behind and you fight everyone when we are winning and you do not know. so weak.

Yeah, China's superior sensors don't even need tri-coloured LEDs!
Chinese air is so "advanced" that they only need the red one!

Re:What is Air Quality? (0, Troll)

zhong-guo (1872764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33173364)

then the both of the air and ground of Iraq, you made these red too. such waste. look look, “”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.“” So weak.

So... (2, Funny)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171318)

... how long before we start seeing a bunch of UFO reports in the area?

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171398)

How long until Boston locks down because of a terrorist attack.

1-31-07 Never Forget. [wikipedia.org]

Re:So... In the Gulf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33171744)

in a couple of weeks.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172106)

It depends, on whether some idiot decides to paint on the sides of the balloons characters no one over 30 has ever seen with their middle fingers extended.

Confusing sentence (0, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172362)

It depends, on whether some idiot decides to paint on the sides of the balloons characters no one over 30 has ever seen with their middle fingers extended.

So, who has their middle finger(s) extended? The idiot painting the balloon, the characters painted on the balloon, or nobody over 30?

Re:So... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33171614)

99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172086)

...how long before we see fetish sites devoted to girls popping these huge glowing balloons?

Re:So... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172892)

It's obviously a cover story for the actual UFOs that are expected to land there shortly!

Can anyone tell me... (1, Insightful)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171376)

Why the balloons in the article are all glowing different colors?

Re:Can anyone tell me... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33171384)

Someone farted?

Re:Can anyone tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33177876)

To be precise, a woman farted. Hence the rainbows.

Re:Can anyone tell me... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171688)

That's what happens when you want accurate results from a cheap sensor.

Actually, it's probably either different sensors configures in the different balloons or someone's deodorant or body spray interacting with them.

well, that's my guess anyways.

Re:Can anyone tell me... (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172768)

Geeks have been know to be rather noxious from time to time. Especially after spending time building a project.

this is news, really?! (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171480)

posting links to other websites content. and internet news sites claim main stream media is crap, atleast they are capable of doing something of their own.

I simplified my design... (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171510)

By skipping all that "sensor" and "tri-color-LED" crap and just putting a red LED, a battery, and some sarin in my balloon....

Re:I simplified my design... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33174262)

The day someone puts up some cute blinking fucking piece of urban ghetto crap and blows up some urban morons is the day you piss monkeys will know pain.

Better Idea (-1, Troll)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171542)

How about we suspend a metric buttload of automatic air fresheners to balloons, and set them off to counteract smoke from all the weed these guys are on.

Worst Summary Ever. (1)

Nux'd (1002189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171620)

These values are measures for the quality of the air surrounding the huge weather balloon. The weather balloon is huge and it glows. The huge glowing weather balloon was made by students at Carnegie Mellon University...

You're repeating yourself. You said that already. You're just saying the same thing over and over.

Re:Worst Summary Ever. (3, Funny)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172058)

And they use LEDs. Don't forget the tri-colored LEDs. Because it's important to mention tri-colored LEDs whenever they're used. And they're using tri-colored LEDs. Which are LEDs that come in three colors.

I'm going to stick my head in a microwave now.

Re:Worst Summary Ever. (3, Informative)

Menkhaf (627996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172190)

From the summary:

and some off-the-shelf air quality sensors (about $10 each)

From the article (sorry, Instructable):

- Air Quality Sensor from Figaro (I recommend the VOC or the diesel/exhaust sensor, $10/$20 each)

I guess it was just too hard to copy/paste two prices.

The article is just as bad. I mean, this is Carnegie Mellon University. How's this for science:

Data sheet for both sensors suggests 48 hours of preheat to make the elements most stable. I've run them for about 24 hours and it seemed to work fine.

Oh, so your sensors "seem to work fine". Here's a quote from the datasheets:

[solvent vapor sensor] Standard test conditions: Conditioning period before test: 7 days
[gasoline and diesel exhaust sensor] Standard test conditions: Conditioning period before test: 2-7 days

No calibration whatsoever. Dumbasses.

I hope these wankers create an air pollution scare and the local population starts wearing gas masks to defend themselves from horrendous air quality because the people who'll build this kind of thing has no clue, follows the Instructable without question and makes the same mistakes as the UNI-FUCKING-VERSITY people.

Re:Worst Summary Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33180728)

Meh.

1. They're HCI students (not specified in the article), what they're looking at is the balloon thing, not the air-thing. (Yeah, I know) If they'd had a couple of EE students helping them, they would have had better results...

2. They're not doing high-precision air quality sensing, which is probably why they're ok with a shorter burn-in.

Let's Build! (3, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33171670)

Homer: Ready!

Troy: First, patch the cracks in the slab using a latex patching compound and a patching trowel.

Homer: [to Bart] Hand me my patching trowel, boy.[Bart shrugs.] Hmm.

Troy: Now, do you have extruded poly-vinyl foam insulation?

Homer: No.

Troy: Good! Assemble the aluminum J-channel using self-burring screws. Install!

Homer: What do I do for-

Troy: After applying brushable coating to the panels...

Homer: Wait a minute-

Troy: You'll need some corrosion resistant metal stucco lath.

Homer: Wait a minute!

Troy: If you can't find metal stucco lath...

Homer: Uh-huh?

Troy: Use carbon-fibre stucco lath!

Homer: Ohhhh!!

Troy: Now parge the lath!

Instructable? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172082)

I accept that this is not directly related to the story but what the hell is an "instructable"?

I can understand that something obvious like "instructions" was taken so they had to come up with something catchy. Would it really be so brand-defeating to just type "these instructions"? Do I have to be bashed in the head, reminded about the fact that I'm visiting a site called "instructable"?

By the way, why are the balloons in one spot different colors? Does this thing actually work properly?

Re:Instructable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33172114)

Honestly: get off my lawn. Do you complain when people call a video blog a vlog as well?

Who in the hell hasn't heard of instructables before? There's a difference between instructions and an instructable. One is more content rich and attractive.

An instructable is superior to "instructions" in that instructions are generally boring and hard to picture text. An instructable can teach a 10 year old how to build an arc welder from car batterys in 7 pictures.

Re:Instructable? (3, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172242)

get off my lawn

don't you just hate the school holidays.

Instructables is a classic Web 2.0 invention where the responses and comments are far more important than the content of the article. They are meant to be a "look at me, see how clever I am" showcase of stuff that 1 person made, but no-one else is ever expected to be able (or want) to replicate. While they could be helpful articles presented in a way that explains the principles, provides clear information about how to make things and is actually useful, in practice it's all about the flashy and colourful presentation.

I fully expect that one of these days there will be an instructable article called "How we made a matchstick". First start off with a tree-trunk, then plane it down into 2 tons of sawdust and a piece of wood 2 inches long. Complete with videos of felling the tree, people playing in the pile of shavings and finally some spotty yoof holding a small sliver of wood. The article itself would then have hundreds of comments along the lines of "Dude, thatz sooooo coooool" and "Awesum"

Re:Instructable? (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172386)

Do you complain when people call a video blog a vlog as well?

Yes I do, because "vlog" sounds stupid, and "blog" is already one of the stupidest words ever created. It takes real effort to come up with a word that sounds even worse than "blog."

1 sensor per balloon - 3 colors per sensor (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33172522)

By the way, why are the balloons in one spot different colors? Does this thing actually work properly?

Each balloon is attached to a sensor for a single pollutant, which then lights up in different colors depending on the concentration of the pollutant which is being measured.

Re:1 sensor per balloon - 3 colors per sensor (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33174756)

Any reason they need tri-color LEDs, rather than just bi-color ones? That would still allow a smooth gradient between red and green. I guess it lacks the cool-factor of a blue LED. Everything has to have a blue LED these days.

Re:1 sensor per balloon - 3 colors per sensor (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33180214)

3 colors == greater precision than 2. You know, like traffic lights.
And you can't really create gradients from single LED light sources situated at the same spot. [rpi.edu]
You might do that by putting the LEDs on opposite sides of the balloon, adding voltage control, wiring...

I.e. making it unnecessarily more complicated, with the additional "bonus" of making the reading of the pollution levels unreadable.
Ever notice how most human-readable non-alphanumeric indicators don't come graded in gradients ranging from -256 to +256?

Re:Instructable? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33174746)

I accept that this is not directly related to the story but what the hell is an "instructable"?

instructable (n.) - person who can be instructed. See uninstructable.

99 Luftballoons lyrics? (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 4 years ago | (#33173324)

The war machine springs to life.

Opens up one eager eye.

Called to D.C and fired by Obama.

Not terribly useful? (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33175276)

You'll only be able to see these at night, but I should think the main times when air quality is a problem is during the day, especially morning and evening rush hours (and afterward).

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>