In partnership with the University of Oregon STEMCORE program and the Oregon Science Teachers Association, the Price Science Commons hosted a workshop on building environmental sensors. I led the session with the help of Bryan Rebar and Dean Livelybrooks that utilized inexpensive computer devices called Arduinos. With a standard 9-Volt battery, participants learned how to make a series of portable sensor systems that could monitor and collect data on such parameters as carbon monoxide levels, natural gas leaks, water levels, temperature, and humidity. Discussion around such sensors included examining how much carbon monoxide students are exposed to while waiting for buses at their schools, to monitoring other pollutants in our environment and monitoring stream temperature changes. An additional workshop on making Arduino sensor systems was hosted for UO students at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology a week earlier.
Much of my interest in these sensor systems came from his interest in environmental issues and his small part in helping create a heat-map of the City of Eugene. Back a couple of years ago, I worked for a day with Vivek Shandas of Portland State University’s Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab and Scott Altenhoff, the Urban Forest Management Analyst for Eugene. Volunteers from Eugene drove designated routes at set times with heat sensors mounted to their vehicles. The end result was a color-coded map showing the heat pockets of the city and where trees could be planted to help off-set the city’s unwanted summer thermal gain. Vivek gave a presentation on the project at the Price Science Commons Vizlab during his visit to Eugene to collect data.