SwitchDoc Labs' WeatherSense Range Gains Radiation Monitoring with the Solar-Powered RadSense Kit

Compatible with the WeatherSense ecosystem as well as supporting upload to third-party trackers, this kit aims to encourage citizen science.

SwitchDoc Labs' John Shovic is once again crowdfunding a wireless sensor system for the WeatherSense range, designed for use with the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers: the RadSense solar-powered radiation sensor.

"RadSense is a solar powered wireless Geiger counter that you can easily hook up to your Raspberry Pi," Shovic explains. "All software is provided and it is all open source! This is an easy DIY radiation detector kit that you build with no soldering! It reads the radiation in your environment and sends it to a database on your Raspberry Pi computer."

The WeatherSense family just grew bigger with the announcement of the RadSense radiation sensor. (πŸ“Ή: SwitchDoc Labs)

Like Shovic's other designs, the RadSense is solar-powered and designs to communicate with a host system β€” usually, but not necessarily, a Raspberry Pi β€” via a 433MHz radio link. Rather than monitoring the weather, however, this sensor picks up radiation via a Geiger-Muller tube connected to a Grove Mini Plus Arduino-compatible Microchip ATmega328P-based microcontroller board.

"This product is not a professional measuring instrument and is only suitable for principle research and teaching demonstration," Shovic warns. "Not for use in radiation dose measurement that directly affects personal safety."

The RadSense is only the latest in what is becoming an increasingly broad family of sensor products from SwitchDoc Labs: Last year the company launched the SkyCam wireless weather camera, the AfterShock earthquake monitor, a lightning detector and air quality monitor, as well as the SolarMax 2 kit for powering Raspberry Pis or other single-board computers in-the-field.

Like its predecessors, the RadSense is designed to encourage participation in citizen science initiatives β€” and comes complete with the ability to transmit readings for inclusion in the Radmon.org, GMCMap.org, and Safecast.org databases. The data is also available locally, within Shovic's WeatherSense database, and published as MQTT topics for integration with other packages.

The project is now funding on Kickstarter, with physical rewards starting at $130 β€” a price that includes everything you need to get started except a Raspberry Pi, radio receiver, and lithium-polymer battery, but which does include 3D-printable STL files for the sensor's case.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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