Tag Archives: Radu Motisan

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.


Modding a wireless rover ‘bot with Atmel’s ATmega128 MCU

Maker Radu Motisan has created a wireless rover ‘bot powered by Atmel’s ATmega128 MCU. As the folks at Hack A Day note, the latest ‘bot is actually the successor to an autonomous follower project started by Motisan a few years back.

“The final goal [was] to have to robot following its user. Putting the rover together was easy except for the tires,” Motisan explained in an article posted on PocketMagic.

“[Atmel’s] Atmega128 wins here with its 128KB flash memory, 16MHz max operating frequency and a multitude of IO ports.”

Radu kicked off his latest project by purchasing the chassis, which included the gear-head motors, tires and control board. He then removed the default chassis control board in favor of an AVR ATmega128 development board and his own motor controller.

Additional key hardware components installed by Radu include a metal bracket system to secure the battery pack, Bluetooth and GPS modules, five ultrasonic sensors, a character display, as well as head and tail lights.

“For the autonomous, human following software I improved the ultrasonic detection algorithm and the movement logic. Now the robot will follow a user more precisely and the speed will vary with the detected signal. [Meaning], if the robots sees the user at a greater distance, [it] will engage with a greater speed. If closer to the user, [the ‘bot] will proceed with smaller steps,” Radu added.

“For the remote control software, where the user controls the robot using a phone, the rover now reports its frontal sensor readings (that show the proximity in centimeters to any detected obstacle) to the smartphone. So the movement commands go from phone to robot – [while] the sensor readings go the opposite way, from robot to phone. [Plus], the software allows the user to turn the lights on/off. Using the frontal distance sensor, a red line is drawn, showing the proximity to an obstacle.”

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s high-performance, low-power 8-bit AVR RISC-based ATmega128 microcontroller combines 128KB of programmable flash memory, 4KB SRAM, a 4KB EEPROM, an 8-channel 10-bit A/D converter and a JTAG interface for on-chip debugging. The device supports throughput of 16 MIPS at 16 MHz and operates between 4.5-5.5 volts. By executing instructions in a single clock cycle, the ATmega 128 achieves throughputs approaching 1 MIPS per MHz, balancing power consumption and processing speed.

Additional data about Atmel’s ATmega128 can be found here, while more information on Radu’s ‘bot project is available here.