Blog Post

STS Civic TechnoScience Project

By Jasmine Royster, Alexander Melamed, Ryan Kronz, Kyle Little, & Jamel Morris

In this project the goal was to make a public project more affordable for citizens by using more accessible technology that would make the project cheaper. We chose to try and improve the Community Air Quality Monitoring project on scistarter.com. The link to the project is https://scistarter.com/project/12540-Community-air-quality-monitoring. The project’s purpose was to support communities in accessing the materials to measure the level of pollution where they live, work and play. The project is intended for anyone in the world to perform. However, the original project was based in the United Kingdom and started by an organization called Mapping for Change due to the amounts of air pollution in the area. They created this project due to the shocking death tolls, alarming health statistics and ominous environmental impacts and believed that it was time for them to take action.

The original project used diffusion tubes. Diffusion tubes have to be sent off to a lab. To adapt our project and make it cheaper, we decided to print a 3-D model to avoid having to use a lab. By doing this, it helps us to not have to pay for shipping. It also helps us to avoid contamination due to shipping. Because we are avoiding the diffusion tubes, there are quicker results because we are avoiding the time between collection and testing. The model we created was https://tinkercad.com/things/iKg0CInEYJ8. This device does not actually contain the diffusion tube itself. It also requires a relatively dark room but has no external data collection mechanism. This device is fairly accessible to the public and was created using Arduino, a UV light, a UV sensor and a 3-D printed test tube holder designed for it.

 

The 3-D model did not exactly turn out how we wanted. It was supposed to have a big slot down the middle to be able to hold a tube or something else. However, by looking at the code, you can see it turned out to just look like a box with a hole in it. Obviously, the project failed but we kind of expected this considering no one in the group really had programming experience. Time was also not on our side that we could maybe rewrite and troubleshoot a functional program for the device. Due to the unsuccessful adaptation of our project, we learned a lot. We realized that there is a reason that there are people out there who specialize in manufacturing and design. There are also many factors that has to be taken into account. There is also much knowledge that needs to be known for certain processes. We also have to take into the account the amount of time that is needed to perform testing. This kind of adaptation is more suited for people who have more experience, funding and/or time.

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