Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

ASU and SciStarter awarded NSF Innovation CORPS grant to foster access to, and commercialization of, citizen science tools

By June 17th, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Comment

Today, SciStarter, a research affiliate of Arizona State University, was awarded a National Science Foundation iCORPS grant (Innovation Corps).
The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research (SciStarter 2.0).
  • The approach to entrepreneurship uses techniques developed to validate each commercial opportunity in a recognized, effective way: customer and business model development
  • The vehicle for commercialization activities will most often be start-ups founded by the I-Corps participants; successful I-Corps projects will be prepared for business formation
  • The I-Corps programs feed the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) andSmall Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
  • NSF will work with the private sector to bring additional resources to the table (in the form of partnerships and finance), when warranted
Envisioned Output
SciStarter aims to extend our service to citizen science and STEM learning by making it possible for citizen scientists to build, borrow or buy the instruments needed to do these projects. Too many scientists are  not permitted to sell or even recommend tools and products required to collect and share data (rain gauge, telescopes, sensors, etc.) for their crowd-sourced research projects. SciStarter will be the place where people find and join projects AND access the tools they need. A one-stop shop for individual purchases and bulk-to-individual (classroom or district-wide) purchases.
Through the ICORPS support of the “Citizen Science Tools Team,” we will gain a better understanding on how to approach this and move forward in a way that is scalable.
SciStarter extends the promise of Citizen Science by connecting millions of citizen scientists with scientists in need of their help through formal and informal research projects. Citizen Science is a fast growing field that engages the public in scientific inquiry, most prominently through data collection projects and environmental monitoring using sensors, mini spectrometers, water testing kits and other tools. In our work in the Citizen Science community, we see thousands of examples of citizen science as well as related challenges and opportunities,including access to the tools required to get involved in Citizen Science projects.

We aim to leverage our understanding of this and our advantage of already being the “Match.com” in the Citizen Science community to scale and sustain an “Amazon for Citizen Science” to provide access to the required and recommended instruments, related consulting and other turnkey solutions.

One area of exploration will be the White House’s Makers-to-Manufacturing effort designed to support low cost, high quality tools that can be distributed to 1000 customers on average. This and other Maker/Citizen Science connections will be explored at ASU’s Citizen Science Makers Summit in October 2016.

The Citizen Science Tools Team intends to facilitate a broad adaptation of Citizen Science by reducing a yet-to-be- addressed barrier to help scientists acquire reliable citizen-generated data by making it easier for volunteers to identify, acquire, and use the right tools for each project. We imagine a holistic solution that includes projects, support, match-making, marketing and funding solutions, and optional products such as training materials, customer ratings/reviews of the tools, and on-site consulting. Our interest is in continuing to be a catalyst in Citizen Science by connecting people to opportunities to engage and in lowering barriers to public participation in scientific research while creating a hybrid academic-consumer sustainability model.
The Citizen Science Tools Team leading this effort are:
Darlene Cavalier – PI
Micah Lande – Mentor
Brianne Fisher – Entrepreneurial Lead
David Sittenfeld -Entrepreneurial Lead (2)
Erica Prange – Researcher
If you are a citizen science project owner, add your required or recommended tool to your project page on SciStarter.
If you are a Maker or manufacturer of a low-cost instrument that can be used for citizen science and you’d like to help connect your tool to researchers and participants, email tools@SciStarter.org .
To learn more about the SciStarter-ASU vision for citizen science and makers, watch this brief Public Television video.

Citizen Science Mapping

By March 3rd, 2016 at 11:06 am | Comment

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Photo: USFWS

Maps are used for more than just navigation these days. The citizen science projects highlighted below use maps to study topics ranging from wildlife to hydrology.

You can find even more mapping projects via the SciStarter Project Finder.

Cheers!

The SciStarter Team

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Volunteers needed to test drive Cancer Research UK’s new analysis mechanic.

By August 8th, 2015 at 1:23 am | Comment 1

Source: Cancer Research UK

Source: Cancer Research UK

Calling volunteers! Cancer Research UK has a new project called The Trailblazer Project. The goal is to develop an app that improves how users analyze cancer pathology data. Volunteers to help test the prototype.

The Cancer Research UK’s Citizen Science team is committed to finding innovative ways to accelerate research by crowdsourcing. Already, the team has three web-based projects up and running. Their new project channels the success of their earliest app Cell Slider. Cell Slider asked participants to identify cancer cells from healthy cells. The team found the public was able to identify cancer cells with a promising degree of accuracy. Now they are developing a new analysis mechanic which will allow for even greater levels of accuracy.

Early beta testing by pathologists and volunteers showed promising levels of agreement. The final iteration of the new mechanic will be ready for testing by volunteers in early August. Testing involves looking for cancer cells in tissue slides rendered into images on an online platform. Each image is divided into 12 sections, and testers click on regions they suspect contains cancerous cells. The team needs at least 30 volunteers to help with this final round of testing.

Once finished, the analysis mechanic will be made available either as a web-based app or a mobile game. This is a unique opportunity for volunteers to not only learn about cancer but to be directly involved in project development. Register to volunteer by emailing your full name to citizenscience@cancer.org.uk.

Check out their other games and apps: Reverse the Odds and Play to Cure: Genes in Space.

 

Citizen Scientists Like You Could Change How We Handle Iraq’s Humanitarian Crisis

By June 24th, 2015 at 9:26 am | Comment

A refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (Photo Credit: Flickr EU/ECHO/Caroline Gluck/CC BY-ND 2.0)

A refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (Photo Credit: Flickr EU/ECHO/Caroline Gluck/CC BY-ND 2.0)

By analyzing images taken during times of humanitarian crises, citizen scientists can help refine a tool for data analysis improve relief efforts.

A guest post by Megan Passey and Jeremy Othenio. Edited by Arvind Suresh

In August 2014, following the fall of Mosul in Iraq, the UN declared the situation a level 3 crisis, the most severe type of humanitarian emergency. Iraq was already home to an estimated 1 million internally displaced persons prior to the current crisis, as well as over 200,000 refugees from Syria.

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What is killing California’s trees, and what can you do about it?

By January 12th, 2015 at 9:00 am | Comment

(Eskalen Lab. UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

Trees infested by the polyphagus shothole borer in California (Eskalen Lab. UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the author’s blog. Project SCARAB is one of more than 800 great citizen science projects on SciStarter. Use our project finder to find one that you can participate in!

The great thing about living in a major port city such as Los Angeles is having access to ideas and goods from the around the world. However, the port of LA, and by extension every trade conduit branching off from there, takes the chance on cargo containers carrying an invasive species. In 2003 one such species, the polyphagus shothole borer (PSHB), was spotted in Whittier, a suburb of Los Angeles. In the intervening decade it has quickly spread to many of the trees in southern California. Read the rest of this entry »