Tag Archives: Hackaday Prize 2015

uRADMonitor measures and tracks air quality

From the Hackaday Prize to Indiegogo, the uRADMonitor is an ambitious project to fight pollution and protect your health. 

It’s no question that pollution, particularly matter that goes unseen by the human eye, ranks high among the leading causes of chronic illnesses and terminal diseases. Hot on the heels of the 2015 Hackaday Prize, Radu Motisan has launched an Indiegogo campaign for his ongoing efforts to fight and track poor air quality using a global infrastructure.

Back in 2014, the Maker first introduced an automated, web-connected radiation monitor capable of detecting beta and gamma emissions. That plug-and-play, ATmega328P powered gadget would go on to become a semi-finalist in Hackaday’s inaugural contest and generate quite a bit of popularity along the way.


Following its initial success, Motisan continued developing his project by going one step further with mobility in mind. His most recent creation, a Portable Environmental Monitor, can measure alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, dust, air quality, temperature and pressure, and then upload that data to the Internet over Wi-Fi.

“Since our biological senses can do little to warn us of such possible dangers, we have designed the uRADMonitor as a first line detection and warning system,” Motisan explains. “Powerful sensors, capable of detecting both the chemical and the physical harmful factors, were deployed globally and share their readings to the uRADMonitor network. With a click, you see the entire world mapped in colors, hopefully as green as possible.”


Using his established backend infrastructure, the uRADMonitor comes in a variety of models and is embedded with top-grade sensors to deliver real-time readings and notifications to protect your health. These measurements are mapped to geographical locations, for better understanding of pollution as a phenomenon. The goal is that this will slowly become a new standard for checking environmental quality similar to how we use weather forecasting today.

Admittedly, the uRADMonitor along with the Portable Environmental Monitor unit is a lofty project, aiming to improve awareness on pollution, its factors and evolution, and ultimately to increase the quality of life worldwide. In order to make this possible, Motisan has various hardware designs to suit everyone’s needs.

First, Model A features an aluminum enclosure with a rubber gasket for rain protection. This version has an internal temperature sensor and a Geiger Tube to detect gamma radiation. Measurements are transmitted automatically, via the Internet, using a cable Ethernet connection.

Next, KIT1 is an open source variant that enables Makers to build their own. Once complete, it analyzes the gamma radiation and employs the integrated Ethernet connectivity to send all measurements automatically via the web to the central server. It can also be used as a portable dosimeter, showing information on its built-in LCD screen.

And then, there’s the Model D — the first portable unit in the series. As seen in this year’s Hackaday Prize, this particular device is capable of measuring temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, dust concentration, VOC (volatile organic compounds), as well as alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray radiation. It’s equipped with a large color LCD touchscreen, a rechargeable battery, a detachable antenna and WLAN 802.11 b/n/n connectivity that allows it to communicate with the central server. Meanwhile, an internal alarm provides audible warnings for elevated readings, which are deemed dangerous to your health. These notifications can even be transmitted automatically via email or SMS.

Motisan says the project will “push environmental surveillance to the next level, by using a verified global infrastructure of fixed detectors.”

Ready for healthier air? Then you’ll want to head over to the uRADMonitor’s Indiegogo campaign, where he’s currently seeking $10,000. Delivery is expected to get underway in February 2016. Until then, you can check out our exclusive 1:1 interview with the Maker here.


This device can help prevent sunburn and predict weather changes

UV-badge is a keychain-sized, wearable UV index and environmental sensor. 

A recent entry into the Hackaday Prize contest, the UV-badge is a small, wearable instrument designed to monitor UV index, temperature, humidity and air pressure. The brainchild of Szabolcs Damján, the device collects data to help users avoid sunburn, control indoor humidity, estimate elevation and even predict changes in weather or impending storms.


Built around an ATtiny861A, the UV-badge packs a 96 x 96-pixel LCD screen, a Bosch BME280 integrated environmental sensor, an ML8511 UV sensor, and a coin-cell battery that the Maker claims can last for an extended period of time thanks to its picoPower design.

The keychain-sized unit is tasked with measuring barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity and UV index every two seconds, and displaying additional information like battery life and historical values. The electronics are all neatly housed inside a 3D-printed case, along with a 1.5mm thick plexi cover and a simple, white adhesive plastic mask.


Users can switch between measurements by clicking its tactile switch located on its right side. A chart will then appear showing the trend of the selected value. To enter sleep mode, simply hold down the button for eight seconds. To turn back on, just hit the button again.


Looking ahead, Damján says future improvements may include improved memory, enhanced functionality, a fancier display, as well as a rechargeable LiPo battery. Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s entire project on his Hackaday.io page here.