New Tools and Sensors for FOSSASIA PSLab and ExpEYES

ExpEYES: Open Source Science Lab’ is a project FOSSASIA is supporting since 2014. As a part of GSoC-14 and GSoC-15 we started actively developing Pocket Science Lab for open science education. The objective is to make create the most affordable open source pocket lab which can help millions of students and citizen scientists all over the world to  learn science by exploring and experimenting.

We are currently working on  adding new tools/sensors and also  developing a new lab interface with higher capabilities to be added to FOSSASIA Science Lab. My goal for this year’s project is to add new experiments to the ExpEYES library. I also started working on new lab interface.

Here is my kitchen converted to a work space, my GSoC Lab:)

Linear Air track for mechanics experiments, super-critical dryer which uses PSLab for temperature control and monitoring with other instruments.

In the month of May-16, I spent few days at IUAC – Inter University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi, to work with Dr. Ajith Kumar ( Inventor of Expeyes). The time spent at IUAC was most useful as we got help and inputs from many people at IUAC and also the participant teachers of ExpEYES training programme. We designed some new experiments to be done with ExpEYES. Planned improvements in Mechanics experiments especially the experiments on linear air track. We also started working on the new lab interface. Thanks to Jithin B.P. for helping us out with all the development. With the continuous collective efforts now we have a new lab interface. “PSLab: Pocket Science Lab from FOSSASIA”. Here I am trying to give all the details of the equipment and the development done so far and the things planned for next couple of months.


PSLab: Pocket Science Lab from FOSSASIA

Size of PSLab is 62mmx78mmx13mm. The front panel will be slightly different than the one in the picture. It will have little extra portion in the top right corner to accommodative 90 degree connector pins. something like this.pslab
We will finalize the front panel design in a week and get the panels screen printed. The sample kits will be sent to my mentors for testing and suggestions.)

Main Features and GUI’s

PSLab can function like an oscilloscope, data logger, waveform generator, frequency counter, programmable voltage source etc. It can be plugged in to USB port of PC or SBC’s like Raspberry Pi. PSLab has:

  • 2 variable sine waves
  • 4 programmable  square wave generators
  • 3 programmable voltage sources
  • Programmable constant current source
  • 4 channels for fetching data
  • Sensor input
  • Berg Strip sockets  etc…

We are also working on to add wireless sensor interface. This will enable PSLab in accessing various sensors using a wireless module.

PSLab Code repository , Installation and Communicating with PSLab

All the programs are written in Python. PyQt is used for GUI designing and Pyqtgraph is used for plotting library. I have created two repositories  for PSLab

  • https://github.com/fossasia/pslab-apps: GUI programs and templates for various experiments. (Depends on python-pyqtgraph (>=0.9.10), python-qt4 (>=4.10), ipython(>=1.2), ipython-qtconsole(>=1.2)

In addition to the above development work we also conducted a few demonstration sessions in science and engineering colleges at Belgaum, India. The feedback from teachers and students in improving the kit  is really helpful in modifying the GUI’s for better user experience.

Next Steps/To Do

  • Add new experiments to PSLab
  • Complete Voltammetry module for ExpEYES
  • Complete Unified GUI for all  Mechanics Experiments using ExpEYES
  • Documentation for PSLab

We are  getting about 25 PSLab  kits ready in the first batch by the end of this month. Thanks to funding from GSoC-15.) Need to work on the [email protected] website. Next immediate plan is to get about 50-100 kits ready and update the website with all the information and user manuals before FOSSASIA-17. I am also working on a plan to reach-out to  maximum number of science and engineering students who will definitely get benefit from PSLab.)

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Participate in FOSSASIA Summit 2016 in Science Center Singapore, March 18th-20th

Please join us at FOSSASIA 2016 in Singapore, the premier Open Technology event in Asia.

The event will take place from March 18-20 at the Singapore Science Center and already on 17th March the pgDay Asia conference is part of the pre-event activities.

The FOSSASIA weekend from Friday to Sunday is dedicated to the “Internet of Things and Me” covering open technologies and software that make todays connected devices run. In workshops kids can start learning with the Pocket Science Lab. In the Science Hack track attendees will learn how to participate in the Citizen Science community. Please:

More than 120 speakers from Asia and around the world will join the event from communities and companies such as Google, RedHat, and Github. There will be talks and hands on workshops on topics including:

  • Open Hardware, Makers, Internet of Things
  • Open Source Software, Data and Free Knowledge
  • DevOps, Docker, Programming languages, Python, Go, and more
  • Science Hacks and Open Design
  • Tech and Science for Kids

Info on the FOSSASIA Summit 2016 at the Event Website

Read the Call for Speakers here.

Join the FOSSASIA Meetup Group in Singapore and reserve your spot in workshops as soon as they are announced.

Follow us on Twitter.

Check out the photos from last year on Flickr.

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FOSSASIA Hack Trip to 32C3 Chaos Communication Congress

From December 27-30 the 32C3 Chaos Communication Congress took place in Hamburg, Germany. Members of the FOSSASIA community met at the event to learn about the latest OpenTech hacks. We used the opportunity to work with mentors on our coding program for kids. See photos from our gathering here.


Get together at 32C3 Hamburg

Mitch Altman at Chaos Communication Congress 32C3 with Hong Phuc Dang from FOSSASIAHong Phuc Dang meeting Mitch Altman (Twitter)

FOSSASIA Mentors Michael Christen (Yacy), Jan Suhr (Nitrokey), Hong Phuc DangMeetup with FOSSASIA mentors and supporters from Europe Michael Christen (Yacy.net/loklak), Jan Suhr (Nitrokey), Hong Phuc Dang (FOSSASIA), Anna (Mozilla)

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Kids Coding with FOSSASIA and Google Code-In

After the successful Google Summer of Code we are very happy and honored to participate for the second year in Google Code-In. The contest introduces pre-university students (ages 13-17) to open source software development and runs from December 7 2015 until January 25, 2016. Learn more here.

Because Google Code-in is often the first experience many students have with open source, the contest is designed to make it easy for students to jump right in. Open source organizations chosen by Google provide a list of tasks for students to work on during the seven week contest period. A unique part of the contest is that each task has mentors from the organization assigned should students have questions or need help along the way.

Google Code-In FOSSASIA

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A low-cost laboratory for everyone: Sensor Plug-ins for ExpEYES to measure temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, acceleration, tilt angle and magnetic field

Working on ExpEYES in the last few months has been an amazing journey and I am gratful of the support of Mario Behling, Hong Phuc Dang and Andre Rebentisch at FOSSASIA. I had a lot of learning adventures with experimenting and exploring with new ideas to build sensor plug-ins for ExpEYES. There were some moments which were disappointing and there were some other moments which brought the joy of creating sensor plug-ins, add-on devices and GUI improvements for ExpEYES.

My GSoC Gallery of Sensors and Devices: Here are all the sensors I played with for PSLab..

The complete list of sensor plug-ins developed is available at http://gnovi.edublogs.org/2015/08/21/gsoc-2015-with-fossasia-list-of-sensor-plug-ins-developed-for-expeyes/

Sensor Plugins for ExpEYES

The aim of my project is to develop new Sensor Plug-ins for ExpEYES to measure a variety of parameters like temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, acceleration, tilt angle, magnetic field etc. and to provide low-cost open source laboratory equipment for students and citizien scientists all over the world.

We are enhancing the scope of ExpEYES for using it to perform several new experiments. Developing a low-cost stand alone data acquisition system that can be used for weather monitoring or environmental studies is another objective of our project.

I am happy to see that the things have taken good shape with additional gas sensors added which were not included in the initial plan and we have almost achieved all the objectives of the project, except for some difficulties in calibrating sensor outputs and documentation. This issue will be solved in a couple of days.

Experimenting with different sensors in my kitchen laboratory

I started exploring and experimenting with different sensors. After doing preliminary studies I procured analog and a few digital sensors for measuring weather parameters like temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure. A few other sensors like low cost piezoelectric sensor, accelerometer ADXL-335, Hall effect magnetic sensor, Gyro-module etc were also added to my kitchen laboratory. We then decided to add gas sensors for detecting Carbon Monoxide, LPG and Methane.

With this development ExpEYES can now be used for pollution monitoring and also in safety systems in Physics/chemistry laboratory. The work on the low-cost Dust Sensor is under progress.

Challenges, Data Sheet, GUI programs

I had to spend a lot of time in getting the sensor components, studying their data sheets, soldering and setting them up with ExpEYES. And then little time in writing GUI Programs. I started working almost 8 to 10 hours every evening after college hours (sometimes whole night) and now things have taken good shape.

Thanks to my mentor at FOSSASIA for pushing me, sometimes with strict words. I could add many new sensor plug-ins to ExpEYES and now I will also be working on Light sensors so that the Pocket Science Lab can be used in optics. With these new sensor plug-ins one can replace many costly devices from Physics, Chemistry, Biology and also Geology Lab.

What’s next? My Plan for next steps

  • Calibration of sensor data

  • Prototyping stand-alone weather station

  • Pushing data to Loklak server

  • Work on [email protected] website

  • Fossasia Live Cd based on Lubuntu with ExpEYES and other educational softwares

  • Set-up Documentation for possible science experiments with the sensor plug-ins and low-cost, open source apparatus

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How to join the FOSSASIA Community

We often get the question, how can I join the community. There is no official membership form to fill out in order to participate in the Open Tech Community. You simply start to contribute to our projects on GitHub and you are already a member. So, let’s work together to develop to develop social software for everyone!

The FOSSASIA team welcomes contributors and supporters to Free and Open Source Software. Become a developer, a documentation writer, packaging maintainer, tester, user supporter, blogger or organize events and meetups about our projects.

Women in IT discussion in the community

Here are some ideas how we can collaborate

Download our Open Source applications, install them and use them

The first step of joining a project is always to download the software and try it out. The best motivation to support a project is, if the project is useful for yourself. Check out our many projects on github.com/fossasia and our project social media Open Source search engine on github.com/loklak.

Show your support and ★star FOSSASIA projects

Help to motivate existing contributors and show your support of FOSSASIA projects on GitHub. Star projects and fork them. Doing something that people like and that helps people is a great motivation for many.

Learn about best practices

We have formulated best practices for contributing to Open Source to help new contributors to get started. Please read them carefully. Understanding our best practices will help you to collaborate with the community and ensure your code gets merged more quickly.

Subscribe to news

Subscribe to the FOSSASIA Newsletter to stay up to date on new software releases, events and coding programs here on the main page.

Read the blogs and support users on the mailing list

Learn from Open Tech articles on our blog that are written by developers, contributors, volunteers, and staff of companies supporting the FOSSASIA network. Sign up for the FOSSASIA Mailing List and keep reading our blog at blog.fossasia.org.

Follow us on Social Media

Show us you interest in FOSSASIA’s Open Technology and keep up to date on new developments by following us on Twitter and retweeting important updates: twitter.com/fossasia

And, become a member on social networks like Google+ and Facebook and connect with other contributors:
* Facebook www.facebook.com/fossasia/
* Google+ plus.google.com/108920596016838318216

Join and support the FOSSASIA network at community events

Set up a booth or a table about FOSSASIA at Open Source community events! There are many events of the open source community all over the world. The core team of FOSSASIA is simply not able to attend all events. You can support the cause by making the project visible. Register as a member of the FOSSASIA community at events, set up an info point and showcase Free and Open Source projects. Check out for example FOSSASIA event calendar calendar.fossasia.org or our meetup group in Singapore: meetup.com/FOSSASIA-Singapore-Open-Technology-Meetup

Translate our projects and their documentation

Do you speak more than one language? Most Open Tech projects are 100% volunteer translated, which means you can be part of a translation team translating software and documentation thousands of people will use. Start now and check out our GitHub repository.

Mini Debconf Participants in Saigon

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Google Code-In Success: FOSSASIA Top-Ranked Organization

FOSSASIA‘s first participation of Google Code-in contest as a mentoring organizations was a great success with 587 tasks completed, most by any organization this year, out of a total of 725 published tasks. The twelve participating organizations included projects like Wikimedia, Sugarlabs, Sahana, Drupal, KDE and OpenMRS.

Students from all around the world aged 13-17 years old worked with mentors of FOSSASIA on improving open source software during the 7 weeks the contest is run. They coded programs, designed artworks, tested software and more than anything else had fun.

174 students managed to complete at least one task with FOSSASIA and 43 out of them claimed a cool t-shirt from Google by completing 3 or more tasks.

Out of the 10 students who completed most number of tasks finalists and grand prize winners were picked collectively by FOSSASIA’s 24 mentors. Namanyay Goel and Samarjeet Singh won the grand prize, which is an all expense paid trip to Google HQ in Mountain View, California. Alvis Wong, Amr Ramadan and Tymon Radzik emerged as finalists. Congratulations finalists! Safe travels grand prize winners! We are thankful for your precious contributions and will be delighted see you continue to contribute even after the program.

Open source projects ExpEYES, sup, TiddlySpace, p5.js among few others, benefitted from FOSSASIA students’ work. More than 150 open source/ open tech projects and communities around asia were connected to FOSSASIA with the help of students. Students also worked together to build a nice website portraying students and mentors.

We would like to thank all participated students for the amazing interest they showed in our tasks. Its great to see some of them still hang around to help us. 24 mentors of FOSSASIA worked hard and stood up to the challenge of finding time to work with and help out students while having other obligations. Thank you mentors! Lastly we are grateful to Stephanie Taylor and Co. at the Google OSPO, for organizing the wonderful contest.

Google Code-In FOSSASIA Mentor Package Wonderful Surprise: Mentors received a Thank You Package from Google

Sleeping peacefully - Nephew of Michael Cheng: Mentor's Family Enjoying "Open Source" Thank you package Sleeping peacefully – Nephew of Michael Cheng: Mentor’s Family Enjoying “Open Source” Thank you package

Links

FOSSASIA GCI: http://www.google-melange.com/gci/org/google/gci2014/fossasia

Google Blog about GCI: http://google-opensource.blogspot.de/2015/02/google-code-in-2014-magic-in-numbers.html

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