As I mentioned in my previous post, I am now putting forth all of my thesis effort into the collaboration with the New York Hall of Science working on the C3 project. After a few meetings we have decided to make the device a cellular peripheral. This was my thinking at the beginning of the project in the fall, however I only have experience programming for iPhone, and bluetooth on the iPhone is locked down with security handshakes to prevent users from creating their own BT devices. Thanks, Apple!
However, now with the support of my thesis advisor, Mike Edwards and a generous lending of a Nokia N900, from David Carroll, I am moving forward with this. The N900 is perfect, because Nokia created this phone with the intent of being “hacked”. I was easily able to pair my circuit with the phone, and have prototyped an application to collect the data, GPS, and date/time.
After working with the phone for about a week, I realized the amazing potential it unlocked. Because the phone has a very high quality camera, and processing power that no microcontroller can compete with (it uses an ARM chip that runs Maemo), possibilities for user experience when collecting are now blown wide open. The ability to add media to any data point would a HUGE development, something that we have decided must happen.
Students would receive real-time feedback of data being collected, and when, for example, they see a spike in a reading can take a picture and pair it with this data point. Activities such as identifying sources of pollution in real-time enrich the experience, and allow for a more interesting experience when analyzing data later.
The image above is my first proto of the breadboard paired and talking to the Nokia (you can see numbers representing the value of the 2 potentiometers).