Weather Tunnel

I never said I would start chronologically.

So, Citizen Sensor has received tons of press, and even continues to get some as recently as this month. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to have worked so hard on a single project and have that work be appreciated by so many different people. It’s also afforded me awesome opportunities to talk about my work including some great travel and even an award.

The Weather Tunnel Project has been the bulk of my focus for the past ~4 months, in terms of personal projects go (my time is mostly spent on freelance and teaching these days).  The project is being funded mostly by Parsons, and is part of the TransLife 2011 exhibition at the National Art Museum of China. In a nutshell, the project involves several different institutions across the globe creating installations that use real-time weather and environmental data. Each institution is hosting their own sensor module that is sending this data to a database, from which the installations can grab.  The show will run from July 26 – August 23, in Beijing China. I’m extremely excited to be involved in both the sensor design and development, as well as participating as an artist in the exhibition.

I’ve written a lot about how the Weather Tunnel modules evolved from Citizen Sensor in a CS blog post, so I won’t go too in depth here. What I’ll talk about here is my involvement in the project.

In January, when Zhang Ga (faculty at Parsons, visiting scientist at MIT, TransLife curator) approached me with the concept, I was super excited because I knew I’d be able to apply a lot of my CS work into the sensors. Myself (with some help from students in a Parsons grad course this past spring semester, as well as class TA Leif Percifield), fabricated about 10 sensor modules that record environmental data (including light, temperature, ambient noise, humidity, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and general air quality) and post up the data in real-time to Pachube.  We have deployed sensor units to all institutions participating in the Weather Tunnel project — Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan, China, NYC, Arizona, and more are all currently posting data to our repository.

Here’s a few images of the sensor units I designed and fabricated.  In depth information about the units can be found on the weather tunnel dev blog.

As I mentioned, each participating institution is hosting a unit — but they are also all creating an interactive installation piece for the exhibition in Beijing that use the data in real-time. This, obviously, is the most exciting part of the project, and I will post up about my personal installation in the next blog post. So look out.  I’m leaving for Beijing Wednesday AM, so give me like 72 hours to write more.

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