Developing low-cost sensor device for children in Northern Thailand

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Pruet Pjorn (who prefers to be called “Spidy”) is my 2nd year PhD student in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts. He has an interesting idea, and I am pretty excited about it. In his native country Thailand, agriculture is a significant economic contributor. Hence, agricultural and environmental science education is very important. Yet, according to PISA 2012 which ranked the education of 65 countries, Thailand was ranked 48 in reading and science. Naturally, Spidy is not happy, and he wants to challenge the way science is taught. In the same year 2012, the Thai Ministry of Education distributed 800,000 tablet computers to school children. Spidy saw this as an opportunity, and he decided to work on a project to design and develop a low cost sensor device, which connects with those tablet computers.

His ultimate vision is to allow children to conduct simple science experiments using sensor devices to collect environmental data. The tablet will then visualise this data in engaging format for them.

The video shows a really early prototype:

 
 

He uses Raspberry Pi to capture and store readings from the light sensor, and displays this data on the web in animated format on a tablet. He is also currently experimenting with the new 3D printer to create nice and cute cases to house the sensors. Hopefully there will be more updates from Spidy in 2015!

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