Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

PocketLab + SciStarter = a [citizen] science lab that fits in your pocket.

By July 23rd, 2016 at 12:06 am | Comment

Screen shot 2016-07-22 at 11.10.08 PM

PocketLab connects with a single button to a smart phone, tablet, Chromebook, or computer and instantly streams data that you can see and record. PocketLab measures motion, acceleration, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature. Using the PocketLab app, you can easily analyze your data, create graphs, and integrate your data with other software. PocketLab has the same features as lab equipment that costs thousands of dollars but is low cost and intuitive to use.

use coupon code SCISTARTER and save $20 per order!

Use coupon code SCISTARTER and save $20 per order!

SciStarter and PocketLab have teamed up to make it easier for citizen scientists to access PocketLab.

Click here to purchase a PocketLab and be sure to type SCISTARTER as your “coupon code” to receive a discount on your purchase. AND…PocketLab will donate a portion of all sales to SciStarter! A win/win for citizen science!

Soon, we’ll help hundreds of PocketLab owners find awesome citizen science projects in need of their experiments and data!

Here’s more information on PocketLab. If you purchase one, we’d love to hear what you think of it and how you used it!

Categories: Citizen Science,Tools

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Poké Around With Citizen Science

By July 22nd, 2016 at 1:39 am | Comment

It's taking the world by storm. How can citizen science benefit? (Credit: Eduardo Woo/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s taking the world by storm. How can citizen science benefit? (Credit: Eduardo Woo/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

by Jennifer Cutraro

By now, you’ve surely seen, heard about, or even joined the hordes of people wandering about outdoors,  phones held right in front of their faces. In the two weeks since Pokémon Go’s release, there’s been much ado about the game: how it gets people outdoors, how it promotes physical activity, how it’s already sparked a robust community of haters, and the risks of playing the game without paying attention to your surroundings.

Risks aside, I’m not the first to be jumping-up-and-down excited about the educational and research opportunities this presents. Within days of Pokémon Go’s launch, entomologist Morgan Jackson created the hashtag #PokeBlitz — a clever mashup of Pokémon and BioBlitz, a type of time-limited biodiversity scavenger hunt. He and a community of scientists and educators are using it on Twitter to help other gamers identify the IRL — in real life — plants and animals they encounter while on their Pokémon adventures. It’s a great way to learn about the plants and animals that share your neighborhood.

Pokémon Go also presents a great opportunity for citizen science — if you’re already out looking for charmeleon and poliwrath, you can contribute to one of many projects around the country looking for information about the (actual)  plants, animals, and even stars you see right in your neighborhood. Here are some projects to help you get started:

If you have no idea what kind of tree, bird, or mushroom you’ve found, that’s  no problem. After you share a photo on Twitter with the #PokeBlitz hashtag, send it along to iNaturalist, where a team of amateur naturalists can also help identify the species you found. iNaturalist has a free app that makes it easy for you to share photos with their community, including a “Help Me ID This Species” button. Every photograph you share with iNaturalist contributes valuable data to scientists monitoring species occurrences around the world. Browse their site to check out photos of plants and animals others in your local community have shared with iNaturalist — a simple and easy way to learn more about nature right in your neighborhood.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds program is a good starting point for both learning to identify common birds across the country and contributing information about your local species to this important citizen science program. If birds aren’t your thing, take time to smell the flowers, then share the flower’s location and life cycle stage with Project BudBurst, a nationwide phenology monitoring program with a robust collection of curriculum and other materials for educators and families. You can also help scientists learn more about seasonal migration by sending information about songbirds, butterflies, and other species you stumble upon at your PokéStop to Journey North.

If you’re out in the evening, count the number of stars you see for GLOBE at Night, a campaign measuring light pollution around the world. You also can use your phone’s camera to record light pollution levels in your area, data the folks at the Dark Sky Meter project would really like to have. And if you’re lucky enough to see fireflies when you’re outdoors, please share that information with our friends over at Firefly Watch.

To be fair, there’s no shortage of opinion about Pokémon Go — what it means for meaningful outdoor experience, the place of technology in the outdoors, whether it just provides another way to disengage from the world around us. In a thoughtful piece in the New York Times, Richard Louv, author of Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-RIch Life, shares his nuanced perspective on how we might consider Pokémon Go’s potential to encourage people to explore nature. He offers us all a simple frame of reference:  

“Here’s a litmus test: how long does it take a person to look up from the screen and actually experience the natural world?”

To me, that’s a helpful and practical lens through which to view any piece of technology or media. Whether it’s watching TV, playing a game, hanging out on social media or, yes, playing Pokémon Go, we all need to look away from the screen from time to time. You might be more likely to do just that if you also turn your Pokémon Go adventure into an opportunity to get to know your actual neighborhood, learn a little about nature, and contribute to science research along the way.


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

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.